Former Ocean Bank chairman Hà Văn Thắm
admitted his violations on Thursday, saying his actions were aimed at
saving his job and preventing the bank from going bankrupt.– Photo
HÀ NỘI – Former Ocean Bank chairman Hà
Văn Thắm admitted his violations on Thursday, saying his actions were aimed
at saving his job and preventing the bank from going bankrupt.
In one of the biggest economic crime cases in Việt Nam,Thắm and 47 other former leaders and employees of the
bank are being tried for charges including breaching loan regulations of
credit institutions, abusing positions and power while on duty and
intentionally acting against State laws on economic management, causing
The fourth day of the hearing at the Hà Nội People’s Court focused on
questioning defendants to make clear their violations in illegally paying
interest rates outside of deposit contracts to customers, causing losses of
VNĐ1.576 trillion (US$70 million) for the bank, affecting the central bank’s
monetary market management policy and hindering the implementation of State’s
Thắm admitted his violations and said his actions were
caused by a need to complete his quota and avoid being dismissed.He
said the payment to “care for customers” was illegal, but the bank could have
gone bankrupt if they had not done it.
He asked the court to reduce legal responsibilities of
his accomplices, because they were also forced to do so to adapt to the
difficult context at that time.
The trial, which opened on Monday, is expected to last 20 days.
According to thePeople’s
Procuracy’s indictment, Ocean Bank committed extremely serious violations in
lending, mobilising deposits, and paying customers higher interest rates than
the ceiling regulated by the central bank, causing heavy losses for the bank
and its shareholders and hindering the implementation of State monetary
The indictment also stated that while holding the highest position at Ocean
Bank, Thắmpersonally directed the Ocean Bank Board of Directors
to approve a loan to Phạm Công Danh, former Managing Board Chairman of the
The loan was approved without meeting loan conditions
and without collateral assets, causing losses of nearly VNĐ350 billion ($15.5
Other defendants present at the hearing included former director
general Nguyễn Xuân Sơn and Nguyễn Thị Minh Thu, former deputy director
general Nguyễn Văn Hoàn and Lê Thị Thu Thủy, and former directors of Ocean Bank branches and transaction
Thắm, 43, was arrested in October 2014.
Under Thắm’s direction, Ocean Bank’s bad debts climbed
to nearly VNĐ15 trillion ($666 million), with pre-tax losses reaching more
than VNĐ10 trillion as of March 2014.
The Ocean Bank case is one of the six biggest economic
crimes that the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee was asked to bring
to trial by the first quarter of 2017.
The State Bank nationalised the Ocean Bank in May,
2016. – VNS