Vietnam’s Biggest Corruption Trial Starts

One of Vietnam’s biggest corruption trials began in Hanoi Monday with dozens of former bank executives facing jail time for corrupt practices which cost the bank VND 1.5 trillion (US$ 65.89 million) local media reported Monday.

OceanBankOceanBank Logo (Photo: OceanBank)Ha Van Tham, the former chairman of Oceanbank, and 47 other defendants face charges of abuse of power, lending violations, and economic mismanagement.

A local court found that Tham approved a VND 500 billion (US$ 23.5 million) loan to a real estate company without ensuring it had any collateral. The company then defaulted on the loan costing Oceanbank VND 350 billion (US$ 15.37 million).

Authorities also said that Tham ignored government regulations on deposit rates which lead to losses of nearly VND 990 billion (US$ 43.49 million).

These and other suspicious irregularities lead to the massive losses for the bank and affected the governments implementation of monetary policy.

Tham was ranked the eighth richest man in Vietnam in 2013, a year before he was arrested on corruption charges.

Prosecutors claimed he was the ringleader in this case.

Over 600 people are involved in this trial, which is expected to last only 20 days.

Among those involved were representatives from VNCB Bank and the shipbuilding company Vinashintwo companies that have been embroiled in their own financial scandals, local media reported.

Seven bankers from VNCB were arrested for approving illegal loans which cost the bank US$ 21 million in January.

Two executives from Vinashin were sentenced to death for embezzlement last Thursday.