Former Sacombank exec accepts responsibility in Construction Bank case hinh anh 1Tram Be, former Vice Chairman of Sacombank, was led to the court on January 8. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The second-phase trial against Pham Cong Danh, ex-Chairman of Board of Directors of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) and his accomplices entered the third day on January 10, when the Ho Chi Minh City court began questioning the defendants.

Defendant Phan Thanh Mai, former Director General of VNCB, asked the judging council to reconsider the over 6.1 trillion VND (267.8 million USD) that was defined as the consequence of the case.

He said the 6.1 trillion VND included over 4 trillion VND used to raise VNCB’s charter capital and this sum of money was still at VNCB. 

Mai said there are many assets which could be the basis for settling the case’s consequences but haven’t been considered, and that Pham Cong Danh had not been allowed to settle consequences before the investigation agency evaluated the losses in the case.

The judging council said the use of borrowed money to raise charter capital is not in line with legal regulations. Therefore, VNCB’s proposal to raise its charter capital by using borrowed money was rejected by the State Bank of Vietnam. At the same time, the central bank’s financial assessment showed that the amount of money was no longer at the bank at the time legal proceedings were launched for the case.

According to the indictment, in 2013 and 2014, Pham Cong Danh, who is also ex-Chairman of the member council of Thien Thanh Group, ordered executives and staff of VNCB and Thien Thanh Group to compile false documents in the names of 29 companies which were established in Danh’s name or others, in order to take loans from Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Tien Phong (TPBank) and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

[Indictment against former Construction Bank executive announced]

Danh used the borrowed money for personal purposes and failed to pay off the sum.

He and his accomplices also used VNCB’s money to deposit at Sacombank, TPBank and BIDV as guarantee for his companies’ loans. The banks later kept the money as payment for the loans. Danh and accomplices’ acts caused losses of more than 6.1 trillion VND (267.8 million USD) to VNCB.

At the trial, former Vice Chairman of Sacombank Tram Be said when Pham Cong Danh asked to borrow from over 1 trillion VND to 2 trillion VND, he agreed but also requested collateral. As Danh said he had, Tram Be assigned Phan Huy Khang, then Director General of Sacombank, to consider the borrowing dossier. 

Later, Khang reported to Be that he agreed to lend 1.8 trillion VND to Danh, which was also the maximum loan sum within Tram Be’s power of approval. On April 25, 2013, Tram Be signed off the Sacombank branches of Hung Dao and District 8’s proposals to lend money to Danh’s companies.

The chief judge of the trial cited the Law on Credit Organisations that aside from collateral, business and debt repayment plans are also conditions for giving loans.

In response, Tram Be said he had not studied the Law on Credit Organisations carefully before assigning Phan Huy Khang to consider lending procedures. He said that his only concern was to know Pham Cong Danh had collateral and he only gave approval of the lending, while the procedures were the responsibility of the Director General.

While accepting the responsibility when he only took into account collateral to approve loan provision, Be said this action did not run counter to regulations. He said he treated Danh as the representative of a collective legal entity, and his acquaintance and discussion with Pham Cong Danh could not be considered as having personal interest and a reason to charge him with deliberately violating regulations.

Phan Huy Khang admitted to his fault in management, but said he trusted and followed Tram Be’s instruction. He said he had examined all lending conditions but employees did not do “strictly”. He affirmed that using deposit as collateral for loans is in line with regulations.

The questioning at court will continue as the trial will last until February 7.-VNA