Former banker gets death penalty after massive fraud case in Vietnam

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HANOI: An ex-banker was sentenced to death yesterday in a fraud case involving millions of dollars of illegal loans, in a scandal that reaches inside Vietnam's corruption-riddled financial system.

A co-conspirator received life in prison in a month-long trial involving 51 bankers and businessmen - part of an anti-corruption drive that critics say is also sweeping up political enemies of Vietnam's communist leaders.

Former Ocean Bank general director Nguyen Xuan Son, who later became chairman of 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 US$23 million (S$31.3 million) loan in 2012.

"Tham and Son's behaviour is very serious, infringing on the management of state (assets)... which requires strict punishment," said judge Truong Viet Toan.- AFP