Ho Chi Minh City prosecutors on January 13 demanded life imprisonment for Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former deputy chief of the Risk Management Department of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank), at her trial that started on January 6.

Nhu, who was born in 1978 in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, has been charged with “swindling to appropriate assets” and “counterfeiting seals and materials of agencies and organisations”.
Life imprisonment was also recommended for Vo Anh Tuan, former Deputy Director of Vietinbank’s Nha Be branch, born in 1972 in the northern province of Thai Binh, on the charge of “swindling to appropriate assets”.

The prosecutors sought 2-20 years in prison for the remaining 21 defendants, which included bank officials and staff, on the charges of “swindling to appropriate assets”, “giving loans with high interest rates”, “violating lending regulations in operations of credit institutions”, “irresponsibility causing serious consequences” and “abusing position and power while on duty.”

According to the court's indictment, in 2007, Nhu took advantage of her professional position to mobilise over 200 billion VND (9.43 million USD) from many banks, organisations and individuals at high interest rates to invest in the local property market.

In 2010, when the market stagnated, Nhu suffered huge losses and fell into insolvency.

From March 2010 until September 2011, under the pretext of mobilising capital for two Vietinbank branches, Nhu allegedly obtained loans totalling 3.9 trillion VND from three individuals, nine companies and three banks.

She also forged the seals of Vietinbank and companies including Phuc Vinh, Thinh Phat, Hung Yen, An Loc, Duc Minh Quang and Saigonbank Berjaya, as well as nearly 200 documents, including 110 false contracts between Vietinbank's Nha Be branch and individuals and agencies.

Victims of the scam include the Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), the Nam Viet Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Navibank) and the Vietnam International Bank's Ho Chi Minh City branch.

Tuan had actively supported Nhu in appropriating money from many banks, individuals and businesses.

The prosecutors also suggested prosecuting Tran Thi To Quyen, Nhu’s assistant, on the charge of helping Nhu to appropriate 15 billion VND from the Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIBank). Earlier, Quyen was charged with “swindling to appropriate assets”.

Nguyen Thi Minh Huong and Truong Minh Hoang, both Deputy Directors of Vietinbank’s HCM City branch, were prosecuted for their irresponsibility in this case. They signed contracts with ACB staff without supervising them, making it easier for Nhu to arrogate money from Navibank and the ACB.

The trial is scheduled to last 20 days.-VNA