Case of Huyen Nhu closed seven years of legal proceedings

May 31, 2018 | 14:00
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The appeal decision upheld the life sentence of Huynh Thi Nguyen Nhu, finding her guilty of embezzling $47.8 million from five companies.
case of huyen nhu closed seven years of legal proceedings
Defendants Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu and Vo Anh Tuan

After two rounds of investigation, the case has been closed and the court issued a sentence in the morning of May 30. Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu (40) has received the additional sentence of life imprisonment for the charge of embezzling VND1.085 trillion ($47.8 million) from five companies.

Throughout all hearings, defendant Huyen Nhu acknowledged her crimes of fraud, accepted the life sentence, and did not appeal against the court’s decisions. However, the issue of compensation extended the case until now.

The first instance verdict sentenced Huyen Nhu and Vo Anh Tuan to return VND200 billion ($8.8 million) to Hung Yen Company, and Huyen Nhu had to return a total of VND900 billion ($39.7 million) herself to four other companies.

Hung Yen Company did not appeal against the verdict, while the four companies, including Global Insurance Corporation, SBBS JSC, Saigonbank Berjaya Securities Corporation (SBBS), Orient Securities Corporation (ORS), An Loc JSC, made an appeal asking for compensation from Vietinbank.

The four companies said that they opened accounts, deposited, and transferred money at Vietinbank. The bank’s loose supervision of its staff resulted in the loss of significant deposits.

Meanwhile, Vietinbank said that these companies negotiated under the table with bank staff to receive very high interest rates. These companies did not manage their accounts carefully, so they did not know when numerous transactions took place, moving tens of billions of Vietnamese dong from their accounts to strange, unknown accounts.

The appeal verdict held that Huyen Nhu intended to swindle these companies from the beginning as she used a fake name, claimed being an officer of Vietinbank’s Nha Be branch, and gave out fake information on capital mobilisation at the bank, forged signatures, seals, and contracts.

These companies did not come to the bank, but gave all documents to Huyen Nhu to open accounts. Right after depositing money in the bank, Huyen Nhu forged signatures and withdrew all the amount.

As a result, the appellate verdict upheld the previous sentence of Huyen Nhu, issued compensation to be paid, and rejected the appeals of four companies.

The origins of this amount is also a problem. Notably, other banks used these companies to make deposits at Vietinbank with interest rates over the ceiling set by the central bank. Maritime Bank deposited via Hung Yen Company and TPBank via Orient Securities Corporation and An Loc JSC.

Vietinbank is a joint stock commercial bank, 64.46 per cent of which is held by the State Bank of Vietnam, and 19.73 per cent by MUFG Bank, Ltd.

This is not the first time banks carry out transactions breaking the law and get burnt for it. However, the higher-than-average benefits attracted many companies and banks to take the risk and negotiate under-the-table deals for a higher interest rate.

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