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|The Court asked Eximbank to give Chu Thi Binh access to her $10.65 million|
According to newswire Vnexpress, besides sentencing the six accused former officers of Eximbank’s Ho Chi Minh City branch, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court also ordered the bank to take responsibility and pay the principal and interest for Chu Thi Binh and the two other claimants in full.
Binh said before the court that Eximbank made the payment of VND245 billion ($10.65 million) in three savings books. However, this money and the corresponding interest of about VND103 billion ($4.48 million) are still kept by the bank and she cannot access them.
According to Eximbank's representative, Binh deposited her savings through civil contracts and must comply with the provisions of the contract. However, Binh made mistakes when signing the letter of authorisation for Le Nguyen Hung (former deputy director of Eximbank’s Ho Chi Minh City branch) without fully knowing the contents of these documents.
Eximbank said that each savings book is attached to a separate account. Upon completion, the money in the book will be transferred to the corresponding account. However, Binh did not check the documents during the final payment process, allowing the creditor to transfer the money to another account.
"Binh cannot blame trusting Hung too much for letting her guard down. If she was more cautious, Hung's behaviour could have been detected earlier, at least reducing if not completely avoiding the damage of VND245 billion ($10.65 million)," Eximbank’s representative stated at the trial and proposed the panel to reconsider the circumstances to give a fair judgment, according to Vnexpress.
“Eximbank did not instruct Hung to persuade customers to sign the transaction documents," the bank’s representative stressed.
Representing Binh, lawyer Phan Trung Hoai (Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association) said that Binh trusted Hung because he was deputy director of the bank’s branch rather than a regular employee.
According to the lawyer, despite having Binh’s signature on the authorisation letter, if Eximbank's staff strictly followed procedures for making authorisation letters, and drawing up vouchers to withdraw money, Hung should not have been able to appropriate the money.
None of the sides have issued official statements about the court's decision, however, on the stock market, EIB shares of Eximbank opened the first session in red colour.
According to Eximbank’s consolidated report for the third quarter available on its website, the bank’s total assets decreased by 1.6 per cent since the beginning of the year to VND146.991 trillion ($6.39 billion).
In particular, outstanding loans decreased by 2.9 per cent to VND97.362 trillion ($4.23 billion), while customer deposits increased in the third quarter after a slight reduction in the first two quarters (possibly due to the “money-disappear” case), reaching VND119.168 trillion ($5.18 billion), up 1.4 per cent over the beginning of the year.
With these business results, paying out VND348 billion ($15.13 million –principal and interest) to Chu Thi Binh, would certainly be a "shock" to the bank. As published on its website, Eximbank's after-tax profit in the first nine months of 2018 is VND907 billion ($39.43 million) and compensation to Chu Thi Binh would take up over one third of this and would be nearly equal to the after-tax profit in the first nine months of 2017 (VND375 billion – $16.3 million).