The court of appeals of the People’s Supreme Court started reviewing the appeals submitted by Nguyen Duc Kien, former vice chairman of the founding council of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), and other ACB former executives, in Hanoi on November 28.
Kien, who was born in 1964 and resides in Quang An ward, Tay Ho district, Hanoi, was indicted for four offences – intentional violations of the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences, illegal trading, tax evasion, and swindling to appropriate assets.
According to the verdict issued by the Hanoi People’s Court during the first hearing on June 9, 2014, Kien was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of over VND75 billion (US$3.57 million).
Kien then lodged his appeal against the entire verdict, proposing the appeal court review the evidence used to accuse him and those that vindicate him.
Four lawyers will join in defending Kien during this court, which is planned to run for 10 days.
The court will also re-evaluate the verdicts given to former ACB Vice Chairpersons Le Vu Ky and Trinh Kim Quang, who were sentenced to five years and four years in jail, respectively, for intentionally violating the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences.
The appeals lodged by ACB former General Director Ly Xuan Hai, former Vice Chairman of the ACB’s Board of Directors Pham Trung Cang, and former standing member of the ACB’s Board of Directors Huynh Quang Tuan, who received eight years, three years and two years in prison, respectively, will also be examined.
During the first hearing of the case, the judging council ruled that Kien used six of his own companies between May 2007 and August 2012 to conduct financial and gold trading valued at more than VND21.4 trillion (over US$1 billion) without the proper licences.
The businesses involved are Thien Nam Production and Import-Export JSC, B&B Trade and Investment JSC, Asia Financial Group JSC, Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) Hanoi Investment JSC, Asia Hanoi Investment Financial JSC, and Asia Investment JSC.
Regarding tax fraud, according to the council, between 2009 and 2010, the B&B company’s activities, including gold trading, saw profits, but Kien did not declare them. The Ministry of Finance concluded that the income tax B&B had to pay was over VND25 billion. Up to now, Kien has yet to pay this sum. Therefore, he must pay a fine of VND75 billion, triple the figure.
In addition, Kien swindled to appropriate assets in a mortgage of 20 million shares of the Hoa Phat Steel JSC worth VND264 billion (US$12.4 million) at the bank in May 2012.
The court found sufficient evidence that Kien and his accomplices - Ky, Cang, Quang, Hai and Tuan – intentionally violated the State’s economic management regulations causing serious consequences when on March 22, 2010 they issued a decision mandating individuals to deposit ACB’s cash and foreign currencies at credit organisations.
Between June and September 9, 2011, Hai empowered the chief accountant to deposit VND720 billion (US$33.8 million) at Vietinbank’s Nha Be and Ho Chi Minh City branches. However, the money was embezzled by Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, former Deputy Chief of the Risk Management Department of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank). She was sentenced to life behind bars at a trial in Ho Chi Minh City in January, 2014 for swindling to take over assets and counterfeiting seals and materials of agencies and organisations.
The civil liability related to the sum was already handled in the case of Huyen Nhu.
The judging council held that in this case, Huynh Thi Bao Ngoc, an ACB official, directly contacted Huyen Nhu on the deposit and created conditions for her to appropriate the money. Therefore, the court launched legal proceedings for “illegally trading at ACB and Vietinbank” and against Ngoc for co-swindling to appropriate assets.