Former chairman of Ocean Commercial Bank (OceanBank) Ha Van Tham was sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison on charges of breaking lending violations, resulting in a loss of US$3.9 million at the Hanoi-based bank.
A trial took place at the People’s Court of Hanoi City on January 14 for the 48-year-old Tham, who is now serving a life sentence in a previous similar case, and Nguyen Hoang Long, 48, former chairman of Vina Megastar Group JSC, according to local media reports.
Tham was absent from court due to poor heath. As he has already signed a confession, his absence will have little impact on the trial, so his request was approved.
The indictment stated that Long desperately needed money to pay off his due loans in 2012. For that reason, he mortgaged two plots of land in Hanoi so that OceanBank could provide a maximum credit limit of VND100 billion (US$4.3 million).
Later, he also mortgaged a property, which was to be built on in the future, that is, the Nhan Chinh Park project located in Hanoi-based Thanh Xuan District, to raise the ceiling rate to VND250 billion (US$10.8 million).
The then Vina Megastar chairman asked his staff to falsify documents. Consequently, OceanBank disbursed a total of VND224 billion to the private firm. He later used the money to pay off his debts and finance his personal activities.
So far, OceanBank has gotten back VND132 billion, while Long has misappropriated the remainder.
In 2012, the then OceanBank chairman approved the credit limit of VND250 billion for the private firm, but the mortgaged Nhan Chinh Park project, at the time, did not have an equivalent legal value, according to the Supreme People’s Procuracy.
The approval was therefore against the lending regulations of the State Bank of Vietnam, the rules of OceanBank and the 2010 Law on Credit Institutions, resulting in the bank losing more than VND91 billion.
The firm’s ex-leader Long, who is serving a 10-year prison term in a previous case, has been imprisoned for an additional 20 years for fraud, bringing his total sentence to 30 years.
In addition to the fresh 15-year sentence, former banker Tham is still serving out a life sentence. SGT