Defendants at the court on May 8 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on May 8 opened the first trial for 28 former officials of Dai Tin Bank (Trust Bank) – predecessor of the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) for "abusing trust to appropriate property" and "deliberately acting against State regulations on economic management and causing serious consequences".

Hua Thi Phan, former senior advisor of the management board of Trust Bank, did not appear in the court because of reportedly poor health.

At the court, lawyers defending Phan proposed postponing the trial due to Phan’s health. However, the court said that her absence does not affect the trial.

During an earlier investigation by police, she did not submit any statement or declaration. But the court decided to open the trial based on the evidence that has been gathered.

More than 100 individuals and representatives of organisations appeared in court along with 50 lawyers.

According to the indictment, holding 84.92 percent of the bank’s share and acting as the senior advisor of the bank, Phan took over all operations of the Board of Directors, the management board as well as officials and workers of the bank and its two branches of Sai Gon and Lam Giang.

Through other defendants, Phan directed the TrustAsset Company of Trust Bank, which does not have the price appraisal function, to verify and raise the price of her house at No. 5 Pham Ngoc Thach street, Ho Chi Minh City, to 1.268 trillion VND, eight times higher than the market price. Phan then sold the house to Trust Bank and appropriate and cause damage of over 1.105 trillion VND.

Besides, Phan directed leaders and officials of Trust Bank’s Sai Gon and Lam Giang branches to make fake documents and transactions to cause financial damage of over 5.25 billion VND to Trust Bank.

The court rejected Phan lawyers’ proposal of postponing the court due to her physical problem, holding that her absence does not affect the judging process. Five lawyers have protected her at the court.

The trial is scheduled to last until May 31.-VNA