Vietnam ex-banker sentenced to death in fraud saga

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HANOI: An ex-banker was sentenced to death on Friday for his role in a massive fraud case involving millions of dollars of illegal loans, in a scandal that reaches deep inside Vietnam’s corruption-riddled financial system. Former Ocean Bank general director Nguyen Xuan Son, who later became chairman of the powerful state oil firm PetroVietnam, was sentenced to death for embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement. The bank’s ex-chairman Ha Van Tham, once one of Vietnam’s richest men, was jailed for life on the same charges, as well as violating lending rules. He was convicted of illegally approving a $23 million loan in 2012. Also mentioned in the verdict was PetroVietnam’s acquisition of a $35-million stake in the bank. It was later written off when the central bank bought Ocean Bank for $0 in 2015. Both men left the courthouse stone-faced after the verdict.

AFP

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