Energy giant execs arrested as Vietnam continues probe into massive bank fraud

By VnExpress   September 1, 2017 | 06:08 pm GMT+7

They are accused of causing losses of $35.2 million at PetroVietnam by throwing money into a troubled bank.

Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security have arrested the deputy CEO of the state-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam, holding him accountable for an ill-fated venture into the besieged private lender Ocean Bank that caused losses of VND800 billion ($35.2 million).

A source from the ministry said on Friday that Ninh Van Quynh is facing charges of deliberately violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.

Nguyen Xuan Thang, a former board member of PetroVietnam, was also arrested, while two others have been placed under house arrest on the same charges.


Ninh Van Quynh (L) and Nguyen Xuan Thang in a photo provided by the Ministry of Public Security

They are accused of causing losses of VND800 billion ($35.2 million) at the energy giant by venturing into the troubled Ocean Bank several years ago. Quynh was chief accountant of the group at the time.

The arrests came as Vietnam is expanding investigations into losses of $94 million at Ocean Bank, one of the biggest bank fraud cases ever brought to court in Vietnam. The trial opened on Monday with 51 bankers and businessmen in the dock.

Nguyen Xuan Son, the group's former chairman, is already in the dock as he is accused of abusing his position to appropriate VND315 billion (nearly $14 million) from the bank.


Nguyen Xuan Son, a former board chairman of PetroVietnam, stands trial in Hanoi for abusing his position to appropriate money at Ocean Bank. Photo by VnExpress

The list of defendants also includes the bank’s former chairman, Ha Van Tham, and other executives, who have been accused of violating lending and deposit regulations.

Tham was arrested in October 2014 before the government took over his bank in April 2015 and put major lender VietinBank in charge.

The trial, scheduled to last 20 days, has been billed by Vietnam’s government as part of its efforts to clean up the banking sector.

A month ago, police also arrested former Sacombank exec Tram Be in connection with a $400 million graft case, the biggest ever to rock the country’s banking sector.

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