A court in Vietnam has sentenced Nguyen Xuan Son, former chairman of PetroVietnam and former chief executive of Ocean Bank, to death for fraud. He was found guilty of embezzlement, intentional breaches of state rules over economic management leading to serious consequences and abuse of position and power.
The People’s Court in Hanoi also sentenced Ha Van Tham, founder of Ocean Group and once one of Vietnam’s most high profile tycoons, to life imprisonment. Once one of the richest people in Vietnam, the bank’s ex-chairman was found guilty of embezzlement, violations of bank lending regulations and abuse of power. Dozens of other banking and energy officials were also jailed.
The death penalty had been recommended by the state prosecution. Because OceanBank is partially-state owned, Son’s crime of mishandling state money was thought to be particularly serious. When he left OceanBank, he rose to be head of state oil giant PetroVietnam. In 2015, the Central Bank took over OceanBank after it failed to pay its debts. In total, 51 officials and bankers stood trial, accused of mismanagement leading to losses of $69 million.
Judge Truong Viet Toan said: “Tham and Son’s behaviour is very serious, infringing on the management of state assets and causing public grievances, which requires strict punishment.”
Son maintained his innocence and would appeal against the verdict from the People’s Court of Hanoi, his lawyer, Le Minh Tam, told Reuters.
According to Amnesty International, Vietnam is one of the world’s biggest executioners. But this is believed to be the first time in years that the death penalty has been given to such a high-flying former official.
Vietnam, ranked 113th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, is one of the most corrupt countries in Asia. The ruling comes amid an intensifying corruption crackdown and maneuvering within the ruling Communist Party.
The government has vowed to tackle the issue in order to boost the country’s economic growth. In May, a top Vietnamese official was sacked for “serious violations” while running PetroVietnam.
As bankers loot trillions from U.S. citizens and face no consequences, Vietnam shows they have a strict punishment for corruption — death. The Free Thought Project writes:
“Still, no matter the circumstances, an outcome such as this in the US remains impossible: after all it is America’s very own embezzling bankers that control the legislative and judicial branches, and most recently, the executive not to mention the central bank, which is why deterrence of any substantial scale will never take place in the US and small, medium and large-scale theft will continue unabated, with the occasional slaps on the wrist, until there is nothing left to steal.”