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to death on Friday for fraud.
The sentences were delivered at the end of a month-long trial as
Vietnam's leadership wages an anti-corruption sweep, targeting
ex-officials, bankers and executives accused of graft and
Nguyen Xuan Son, former Ocean Bank general director, who later became
chairman of the powerful state oil firm PetroVietnam, was sentenced to
death for embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement.
His co-accused and ex-Ocean Bank 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.
Both men left the courthouse stone-faced after the verdict was handed
down. The trial targeting high-flying executives accused of losses
worth millions of dollars has captivated Vietnam.
The charges cascaded down the ranks, targeting accountants, branch
managers and scores of others in one of the country's largest-ever
The other sentences announced ranged from 22 years in prison to
18-month suspended sentences and re-education outside of prison.
"Tham and Son's behaviour is very serious, infringing on the
management of state property and causing public grievances, which
requires strict punishment," said judge Truong Viet Toan. Tham, Ocean
Bank's founder, was convicted of illegally approving a $23 million
loan in 2012 and economic mismanagement causing major losses.
Also included in the indictment was PetroVietnam's acquisition of a
$35-million stake in the bank in 2009. It was later written off.
The scandal sparked the demise of Ocean Bank.
It had been part of Ocean Group, which takes in real estate and hotel
subsidiaries and enjoyed a meteoric rise after its founding in 2007.
It was valued at $500 million in 2013 under Tham's stewardship.
Ocean Group is still active in real estate, hotels and services and
was valued at $3.5 million in 2016, according to its website.
Photo: Ocean Bank founder Ha Van Tham (right) and co-accused Nguyen
Xuan Son (left) face court in Hanoi.