Vietnam jails former banker to life for $200m fraud

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Image caption,
Nhu worked at the risk management department of Vietinbank

A court in Vietnam has sentenced a former bank official to life in prison, in what is thought to be the country's largest ever fraud trial.

Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu was convicted of illegally appropriating assets, forgery and defrauding investors and banks of about $200m (£121m).

Twenty-two others convicted alongside her got jail terms of up to 20 years.

Nhu, who worked at Vietinbank, admitted to faking documents to borrow money that was invested unsuccessfully.

She was formerly deputy chief of the risk management department of the bank, also known as the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade.

Nhu, 36, started borrowing millions of dollars in 2007 from financial institutions and individuals to finance real estate deals, according to court papers cited by state media.

She continued to borrow money at high interest rates, increasing debts even as she suffered losses for her investments, and forged documents from Vietinbank and other companies, the Thanh Nien newspaper said in a previous report.

The People's Court in Ho Chi Minh city has ordered Ms Nhu to repay the money, but this is unlikely to happen, says BBC correspondent Nga Pham.

While the scale of the fraud has stunned the nation, what has angered people is the decision of prosecutors to clear Ms Nhu's bank, Vietinbank, of any liability, our correspondent adds.

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