OceanBank trials end in death sentence

OceanBank’s former executives have been given the stiffest punishments in Vietnamese law.

OceanBank trials end in death sentence
Nguyen Xuan Son (left) faces the death penalty and Ha Van Tham (right) a life sentence

This morning, the jury of the Hanoi’s People’s Court pronounced the strictest punishments in the OceanBank trials, giving the life sentence to former chairman Ha Van Tham starting from October 24, 2017, and the death sentence to former general director Nguyen Xuan Son.

The sentences were earlier proposed in the middle of this month by the Hanoi People’s Procuracy. Over the past two weeks, the cases and punishments have been thoroughly discussed by the jury.

According to the procuracy, OceanBank has seen numerous violations of special gravity regarding the mobilisation of deposits, and mismanagement of money sourced from the bank’s excessive interest rates. Tham and Son were found to have committed the most serious violations.

Son, who served as chairman of state-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam from 2014 until he was arrested in 2015, was charged with “embezzlement, abuse of power, and deliberately violating state regulations on economic management.”

Son, who had held many executive positions at PetroVietnam since 2003 and served as CEO of OceanBank during 2008-2010, was accused of embezzling about $11 million from the bank. During his term in office, PetroVietnam was a major shareholder of the bank.

Meanwhile, Tham faced the same charges, with the additional “breaking regulations on lending activities at credit institutions.”

According to the Procuracy’s indictment, in 2012, Tham approved a VND500-billion ($22.72 million) loan to Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank, via a property firm without properly securing collateral. The Ho Chi Minh City-based company later defaulted on the loan. Danh is facing 17 years in jail.

During 2010-2014, Tham and other bank officials also offered deposit rates above those set by the State Bank of Vietnam to many customers, including PetroVietnam, causing a financial loss of nearly VND1.6 trillion ($72.73 million) in total.

Over 50,000 individuals and nearly 400 organisations, including PetroVietnam subsidiaries and many state-owned units, benefited from the interest rates, according to prosecutors.

The procuracy has also proposed different durations of imprisonment for many other OceanBank officers (see box for details).

The OceanBank trial kicked off in Hanoi on August 28 and was scheduled to last 20 days. It is considered the biggest in Vietnam’s history, involving about 750 attendants and 51 bankers and businesspeople.

OceanBank was founded in 1993 with a 20 per cent stake from Ocean Group, which holds investments in a variety of sectors, such as hospitality, securities, media, and retail.

List of the defendants with penalties

1. Ha Van Tham (former chairman of OceanBank): Life sentence

2. Nguyen Xuan Son (former general director of OceanBank): Death sentence

3. Nguyen Minh Thu: (former chairman of OceanBank): 22 years imprisonment

4. Nguyen Van Hoan (former deputy general director of OceanBank): 22 years imprisonment

5. Pham Hoang Giang (general director of BSC Vietnam): four years imprisonment

6. Hoang Thi Hong Tu (chairman of BSC Vietnam): 36 months probation

7. Le Thi Thu Thuy (deputy general director of OceanBank): six years imprisonment

8. Vu Thi Thuy Duong (former director of OceanBank’s Accounting and Domestic Transaction Section): four years imprisonment

9. Nguyen Thi Nga (former chief accountant): 42 months imprisonment

10. Nguyen Hoai Nam (former director of the bank’s Capital Source Section): 42 months imprisonment

11. Nguyen Thi Thu Ba (former director of OceanBank’s Retail Bank Section): 5-36 months imprisonment

12. Do Dai Khoi Trang (former director of the bank’s Personal Customers Section): three years imprisonment

13. Nguyen Xuan Thang (former vice director of the bank’s Big Customers and Strategic Partners Section: 36 months imprisonment

14. Le Tuan Anh (former director of Thang Long branch): 36 months probation

15. Nguyen Thi Kieu Lien (former director of Vung Tau branch): 30 months probation

16. Nguyen Minh Dao (former director of Hanoi branch): 28 months probation

17. Tran Thi Thu Huong (former director of Hai Duong branch): 24 months probation

18. Hoang Bich Van (former director of Ho Chi Minh City branch): 24 months probation

19. Nguyen Quoc Chien (former director of Saigon branch): 24 months probation

20. Pham Dinh Yen (former director of Dao Duy Anh transaction office): 30-36 months imprisonment

21. Ngo Hai Nam (former director of Quang Ninh branch): 30-36 months imprisonment

22. Phan Thi Ta Anh (former director of Quang Ngai branch): 30-36 months imprisonment

23. Le Quynh An (former director of Vinh branch): 30-36 months imprisonment

24. Nguyen Hong Quan (former director of Ca Mau branch): 18 months probation

25. Nguyen Tra My (former vice director of Thang Long branch): 30-36 months imprisonment

26. Nguyen Xuan Son (former director of Nguyen Van Troi transaction office): 20 months probation

27. Mai Van Cuong (former director of Haiphong branch): 20 months probation

28. Ta Hoang Phuong (former director of Nha Trang branch): 20 months probation

29. Nguyen Van Duc (former director of Thanh Hoa): 20 months probation

30. Le Vu Thuy (former director of Binh Duong branch): 20 months probation

31. Tran Thi Thien Ngan (former director of Danang branch): 20 months probation

32. Le Bao Kien (former director of Hoan Kiem transaction office): 20 months probation

33. Phan Thi Lan (former director of Ha Tinh branch): 20 months probation

34. Bui Duc Quynh (former director of Dong Nai branch): 20 months probation

35. Ngo Hoang Long (former director of Au Co branch): 18 months probation

36. Nguyen Thi Binh Phuong (former director of Ca Mau branch): 18 months probation

37. Luu Hong Van (former director of Ha Dong transaction office): 24-30 months imprisonment

38. Nguyen Van Chai (former director of Bac Giang branch): 18 months probation

39. Hoang Phuong Nga (former director of Phu My Hung transaction office): 18 months probation

40. Nguyen Luu Nam (former director of Quy Nhon branch): 18 months probation

41. Nguyen Viet Hien (former director of Au Co transaction office): 18 months probation

42. Nguyen Quoc Truong (former director of Can Tho branch): 18 months in non-custodial reform

43. Do Quoc Trinh (former director of Phu My Hung transaction office): 24 months in non-custodial reform

44. Trinh Xuan Ha (former director of Long Bien transaction office): 24 months in non-custodial reform

45. Tran Anh Thiet (former director of Hanoi branch): 18 months probation

46. Nguyen Thi Loan (former director of Trung Yen transaction office): 18 months probation

47. Nguyen Phan Trung Kien (former director of Dong Do transaction office): 24 months in non-custodial reform

48. Nguyen Viet Ha (former director of Thai Binh branch): 24 months in non-custodial reform

49. Pham Cong Danh (former chairman of Thien Thanh Group Company Ltd.,): 14 years imprisonment

50. Tran Van Binh (general director of Trung Dung Company): four years imprisonment

51. Hua Thi Phan (former chairman of Phu Mi Investment and Development JSC): 17 years imprisonment

Former OceanBank officials may face heaviest penalty

Former OceanBank officials may face heaviest penalty

This morning the Hanoi’s People’s Procuracy proposed that OceanBank’s former chairman Ha Van Tham be given a life sentence and former general director Nguyen Xuan Son be given the death sentence.

Court summons record 700 to testify at Oceanbank trial

Court summons record 700 to testify at Oceanbank trial

The Hanoi People's Court has resumed the trial of leaders and employees of Oceanbank, one of the biggest economic criminal proceedings in Vietnam to date, after acquiring additional information.

SBV takes over OceanBank

SBV takes over OceanBank

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) announced the takeover of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OceanBank) on April 25.

By Khoi Nguyen