Vietnam presses ahead with 6 high-profile corruption trials

By Vo Van Thanh   October 2, 2016 | 02:01 am PT
Vietnam presses ahead with 6 high-profile corruption trials
A branch of Agribank, officially known as the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho. Violations of economic management at an Agribank services company will be heard at a trial in the coming months. File photo
6 serious corruption and economic mismanagement cases are being brought to trial between now and the first quarter of 2017.

Six serious corruption and economic mismanagement cases in Vietnam are going to be brought to trial for the first time between now and the first quarter of next year.

One of the cases involves charges of irresponsibility and violations of economic management at the Agribank Services Company, the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption announced at a meeting Saturday.

The country’s biggest lender by assets has been caught in legal turmoil on a number of occasions in recent years, with many executives jailed and arrested for swindling.

Another case concerns bribery and abuse of power charges at the Vietnam Waterway Construction Corporation under the Transport Ministry, and another is a $16-million embezzlement case at state-owned Vinashin Ocean Shipping Co. Ltd., also known as Vinashinlines.

The fourth case involves fraud and economic management violations between Que Vo Textile JSC, a private firm, and a public development fund in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

A Ho Chi Minh City office of Vietinbank, one of the biggest lenders in Vietnam, is caught in another trial regarding fraud, abuse of power and lending rate violations, which allegedly scammed nearly $50 million from five companies.

Executives from the Hanoi-based OceanBank will stand trial in the sixth case. The bank’s then chairman Ha Van Tham, one of Vietnam’s richest men, was arrested in late 2014 following a central bank inspection into various lending violations, including his approval of a $23.5 million loan for a company without the proper collateral.

In 2014, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, an international standard gauge of government malfeasance, ranked Vietnam 119 out of 175 countries and territories; the country was ranked 116 in 2013 and 123 a year earlier. Its position has barely budged, moving to just 112 in 2015.

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