Bankers imprisoned in Vietnam: anti-corruption campaign or political purge?

Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Aug 7 (EFE) .- The prison sentences for corruption of 46 former bankers represent a new step in the anti-corruption campaign undertaken in Vietnam in 2016, although many analysts do not rule out that it is a purge within of the Communist Party.

The last major executive to fall has been Pham Cong Dahn, sentenced Monday to twenty years in prison for “deliberately violating state regulations on economic management” when he was president of the entity Vietnam Construction Bank.

Dahn will be accompanied by his former executive director, Phan Thanh Mai, punished with ten years, and 44 other senior officials of the entity who will spend between two and ten years behind bars for being considered accomplices to crimes that caused damages amounting to 6.1 billion of dong (262 million dollars or 226 million euros) to the entity and impacted the national banking system.

It is the second penalty of Danh, who was already convicted in 2016 for a case of bank corruption and must spend a total of 30 years behind bars.

economic growth of Vietma

personal history of this executive reflects the fabulous economic growth of Vietnam in the last two decades and its dark reverse in the form of corruption: former seller of tiles in his home region of the Mekong Delta, he made his fortune in a few years in the business of construction and in 2012 he bought a small bank that he renamed Vietnam Construction Bank.

Through this entity and with the collaboration of its executives and executives of other banks, he devised a plan for him and his accomplices to get rich with loans that were never returned and ended up sinking the Vietnam Construction Bank, repurchased.

Dahn has fared better than Nguyen Xuan Son, former CEO of the OceanBank (partially state-owned), sentenced to death in 2016 for embezzlement, abuse of power and mismanagement in a million-dollar fraud on illegal loans.

The OceanBank scandal also led to the first prison sentence of a member of the central committee of the Communist Party: Dinh La Thang, former president of the state company PetroVietnam, accused of “deliberately” breaching the law when he invested 800 billion VND (34.5 million dollars or 29.7 million euros) in the entity.

The fall of the communist gyrfalcon convinced the members of the Party of the scope of the campaign undertaken in 2016 by its general secretary, Nguyen Phu Trong, a 74-year-old orthodox Marxist close to Beijing.

Since reaching the party leadership in January 2016 (the most powerful post in Vietnam, above the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister), Trong has reiterated his commitment in the fight against fraud.

The communist leader has demanded to speed up the prosecution of the most prominent cases and has urged senior Party officials to lead a life away from the luxuries in which many were installed.

According to VnExpress statistics, 73 individuals were convicted last year of corruption in Vietnam. Three of them received the death penalty and three others received life imprisonment.

However, despite the harshness of the sentences, some analysts see in this campaign an expression of the war buried between the two factions of the party: that of Trong, in favor of maintaining closeness to China, and the one that advocates a closer approach to USA, embodied by former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, a section of public life since his failed attempt to lead the party in 2016.

“The anti-fraud campaign led by Trong is perceived, at least in part, as a policy, mostly aimed at those who were close to the former prime minister,” said analyst Xuan Loc Doan on the Asia Times portal, critical of the regime. Hanoi.