Hanoi court sentences former ACB chairman Kien to 30 years

08:39 | 10/06/2014
Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) co-founder and former deputy chairman Nguyen Duc Kien and his accomplices have received the final verdict from the Hanoi People’s Court.

After a 20-day trial, 50-year-old Kien, who lives in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district, was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment and was forced to pay over VND75 billion ($3.57 million) in fines. He was found guilty of committing illegal business activities, intentionally violating state regulations on economic management with serious aftermath, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

ACB Hanoi Investment Joint Stock Company’s former director Tran Ngoc Thanh was sentenced to five and a half years in jail, while the company’s former chief accountant Nguyen Thi Hai Yen got five years. Both were charged with embezzlement.

ACB’s former chairmen Le Vu Ky and Trinh Kim Quang were both found guilty of intentionally violating state regulations on economic management with serious aftermath and sentenced to five and four years, respectively. ACB’s former general director Ly Xuan Hai got 8 years, former vice chairman Pham Trung Cang got 3 years and board member Huynh Quang Tuan got two years.

Regarding ACB former chairman Tran Xuan Gia, he was absolved from the verdict due to serious illness.

The accused were represented by a team of 20 lawyers, with four defending Kien, the supposed ringleader, in one of Vietnam’s most serious and complicated economic cases in recent history.

In mid-February, the Supreme People’s Procuracy filed charges against the nine executives. Kien was arrested on August 20, 2012.

According to indictments, between May 15, 2007 and August 3, 2012, Kien used six companies with a total chartered capital of more than VND5.8 trillion ($276.2 million) he established himself, to conduct more than VND21 trillion ($1 billion) in financial and gold trades without proper licensing.

The companies were Thien Nam Production and Import-Export JSC, B&B Trade and Investment JSC, Asia Financial Group JSC, ACB Hanoi Investment JSC, Asia Hanoi Investment Financial JSC, and Asia Investment JSC.

One example of Kien’s illegal business was through B&B Trade and Investment. Between September and October 2009, B&B raised VND1.28 trillion ($61 million) for Asia Financial Group JSC. Then, to replenish the former’s resources, Kien issued 10 million convertible bonds valued at VND1 trillion ($47.6 million) and sold them to ACB bank.

Kien used the funds from Asia Financial Group to buy stakes in several firms including Vietinbank ($15.4 million) and Hoa Phat-Asia Real Estate JSC ($20.2 million).

He also transferred part of the funds to his other companies to make financial investments.

Regarding Kien’s illegal moves via Asia Financial Group, where he acted as Chairman and general director, in March 2007 the company used its entire chartered capital of VND3.2 trillion ($152 million) to buy ACB convertible bonds.

In March 2008, the company sold VND400 billion ($19 million) of these bonds to Phuong Nam Bank and put the money into his own companies.

Also using Asia Financial, Kien used more than VND4 trillion ($190 million) to buy ACB convertible bonds and fund other companies.

In January this year, Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, a former Vietinbank employee, was sentenced to life in prison for falsifying documents and seals, and embezzling nearly VND4 trillion ($190.47 million) from 15 victims including three banks, nine companies, and three individuals.

Also under indictment, ACB made major deposits at two Vietinbank branches in Ho Chi Minh City. Nhu embezzled more than VND719 billion ($34.23 million).

By Thanh Thu

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