On Monday, a Vietnamese court sentenced Nguyen Duc Kien to 30 years in a state prison for his role in a series of financial scams which robbed people and corporations of more than $1.1 billion – an act which was condemned for “badly affecting the monetary and fiscal policies within the country.”
In 1993, Kien founded the Asia Commercial Bank, which is now one of Vietnam’s largest banks and private lenders. Capitalizing on the success of his bank, Kien became one of the owners of Hanoi ACB, former Vietnamese soccer league champions.
Unfortunately for Kien, however, he let his successes get the best of him and decided to use loopholes within the poorly structured and regulated Vietnamese banking system to illegally trade gold and stocks worth 21.5 trillion dong, or 1 billion dollars. Kien is also accused of using his six investment companies to evade 25 million dong in taxes.
Seven other conspirators were sentenced along with Kien.
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Kien was arrested in 2012 after Vietnam made an attempt to crack-down on its banking system in order to improve its credit standing. Following his arrest, stocks in Vietnam plummeted 11 percent in only one month and Moody’s downgraded Vietnam’s credit rating from a B1 to a B2, citing unknown and unstable market situations as the reason for their decision.
While all of Kien’s conspirators received anywhere from two to eight years in prison for their role in the financial conspiracies, Kien’s sentence was upped to 30 years due to his failure to tell the truth, according to the judge.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence against him, Kien continues to profess his innocence: “Mr. Kien didn’t plead guilty to any of the above charges, and he will appeal the verdict,” stated Kien’s lawyer, Vu Xuan Nam.
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