Vietnamese bankers nabbed in $10.8 million fraud case

By Quoc Thang, Le Chi   March 26, 2018 | 01:19 am PT
Vietnamese bankers nabbed in $10.8 million fraud case
Two Eximbank employees are covered under umbrellas as they are escorted by police out of their office in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday as part of an investigation into a $10.8 million fraud. Photo by VnExpress
The mastermind behind the massive scam is still hiding overseas.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested two employees of a major bank on Monday and seized boxes of documents connected to an alleged fraud case that costs one customer VND245 billion ($10.8 million).

Officers from the Ministry of Public Security led Ho Thi Thuy and Nguyen Thi Thi away from the office of Eximbank in District 1 in handcuffs during the afternoon.

Thuy and Thi are suspected of being involved in a million-dollar fraud committed by Le Nguyen Hung, former deputy director of the bank’s HCMC office, who has fled overseas.

Police have not released an official statement.

The ministry issued an international warrant for Hung a month ago after an investigation found he had forged documents to steal the money from a customer, who discovered the losses late last year.

Chu Thi Binh, a seafood businesswoman, had been making major deposits at the bank since 2007.

Her huge savings granted her VIP status, which meant she did not have to visit the bank every time she wanted to check her accounts, but this also opened up loopholes.

Hung paid multiple visits to her house to provide updates of her accounts, and she trusted him completely.

Only after Hung left the bank in 2017 did she check her accounts again, and found that a huge sum had gone missing.

Police said that Hung had been stealing her money since at least 2014 using forged papers.

Eximbank has offered to pay her VND14.8 billion, or 6 percent of her loss, “to help her solve the problem”.

Binh said she has turned down the offer. “The bank has not mentioned how it plans to return the money I lost,” she said.

CEO Le Van Quyet said that Binh will have to face trial before any compensation is paid.

“Once a court decides that Eximbank is responsible for returning the money, we will do so immediately,” he said.

The bank's reluctance to pay compensation has met with strong opposition from the public and legal experts, although Binh is not the only one in the dilemma.

In another case, Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, an agriculture businesswoman in Ho Chi Minh City, said that more than $1 million disappeared from her company's account at VPBank in March 2015, and the case has yet to be resolved.

Two other cases of a VND32 billion ($1.4 million) loss at BIDV and a VND43 billion ($1.9 million) loss at VietABank in 2016 are also still under investigation.

Following the Eximbank scandal, the State Bank of Vietnam has instructed lenders to strictly comply with legal regulations to prevent violations.

Credit organizations have been asked to increase banking security, including authentication measures for transactions and deposits.

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