Court commutes central bank official’s imprisonment in Vietnam’s largest ever bank scam

By Ky Hoa   December 10, 2018 | 08:51 pm PT
Court commutes central bank official’s imprisonment in Vietnam’s largest ever bank scam
Former deputy governor Dang Thanh Binh at the appeal trial in Ho Chi Minh City Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Ky Hoa
A HCMC appeals court has commuted the three-jail sentence handed to a former deputy head of the central bank to a suspended sentence.

Dang Thanh Binh, former deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, had been found guilty of "negligence, causing serious consequences" for losses of over VND15 trillion ($653.25 million) at the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB).

The trial court’s decision Monday was based on several factors including his clean record and old age.

Two Vietcombank officials who had been sentenced along with him in July also had their sentences commuted: from one year imprisonment to a suspended sentence in the case of one, and from one and a half years to one year in the case of the other.

Binh, who served as deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam from 2005 until he retired in 2014, had been held accountable for massive losses suffered by VNCB in the biggest ever fraud to rock the country's banking sector.

He had been assigned by the central bank to restructure several weak banks, including VNCB, which is now the Construction Bank.

In August 2012, he signed a central bank proposal to restructure VNCB that was approved by the government.

But he let the restructuring plan fall apart and opened the way for Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of VNCB, to cause losses of more than VND15 trillion ($653.25 million) to the bank.

In 2016 a court convicted Danh and 35 of his subordinates of stealing more than VND9 trillion ($400 million).

They had illegally withdrawn money from customers’ savings accounts and pocketed it.

Danh was sentenced to 30 years in jail, while the others received sentences of up to 22 years.

Binh was found guilty of not fulfilling his responsibilities as a deputy governor and not following the approved plan to restructure VNCB.

Binh had also failed to follow the government’s instructions to appraise Danh’s qualifications to become the bank’s chief.

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