HCM City People’s Court today began to hear the appeal of Phạm Công Danh, chief of Việt Nam Construction Bank (VNCB), and 35 of his accomplices in a corruption case.
|Phạm Công Danh at the court hearing. - VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh
The case relates to losses of over VNĐ9 trillion (US$403.5 million) to the Government, the largest economic loss caused by graft ever recorded in the country.
Twenty five out of 36 defendants, including Danh, lodged an appeal against the court’s judgement released in September, asking for the penalties to be reduced.
Accordingly, Danh, 51, ex-chairman of VNCB Board of Directors, chairman of the Board of Members and general director of the Thiên Thanh Group, was accused of “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences” and “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions.”
Danh asked the court to extract over VNĐ3.6 trillion ($160 million) from Hứa Thị Phấn, a representative of Phú Mỹ’s shareholders of Trust Bank. Danh paid the above amount of money to Phấn to buy shares and properties of Phú Mỹ Group, but the properties were not transferred to him.
Danh also asked for the criminal penalty to be reduced, as well as a review of the accusation of “violating the lending regulations of credit institutions” because his act did not result in the consequences and he did not direct other defendants to commit violations.
The city’s People’s Court summoned Phạm Thị Trang, who was prosecuted for assisting Danh in committing the violations, to join today’s hearing; however, Trang was absent.
The court hearing is scheduled to go on until January 25 next year.
According to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, after the State Bank of Việt Nam gave its nod to Trust Bank’s restructuring plan, Danh took over the small, debt-ridden bank and renamed it VNCB.
Danh abused his post as chairman of the VNCB board of directors and chairman of the Member’s Board of Thien Thanh Group, instructing his staff in the group and the bank to commit a range of violations.
From June to July 2013 and from February to April 2014, he asked his accomplices to sign false house rental contracts for 268 Tô Hiến Thành Street and 816 Sư Vạn Hạnh Street in HCM City, with his two companies – Trung Dũng and Hương Việt.
He then guided the transfer of over VNĐ601 billion (some $27 million) from VNCB to the two companies. The money was transferred via a private account and used to pay the interests of six companies under the Thiên Thanh Group, the debts this group owed Hải Tiến Investment Development Company, and customer services.
From December 2012 to March 2014, Danh and his accomplices set up false files and committed various violations of the lending regulations of credit institutions
Along with Danh, the court in September also upheld a sentence of 22 years in prison for Phan Thành Mai, another former general manager of VNCB.
Others sentences of 20 and 19 years in prison were given to two former VNCB executives, Mai Hữu Khương and Hoàng Đình Quyết, respectively.
The other 32 defendants were sentenced from three years suspended sentence to a maximum of nine years.
The court also prosecuted Phạm Thị Trang, Hứa Thị Phấn, Hoàng Văn Toàn, ex-chairman of the board of directors of Trust Bank, for violations while directing the bank before Danh took over.