Woman robbed of $10.8 million by Vietnamese banker refuses minor payment offer

ustomers have to wait, in unlimited time, for bank’s compensation for their deposit lost. Photo by VnExpress
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Some customers in similar situations have been waiting for years for full compensation.

A woman who lost VND245 billion ($10.8 million) from her account at a Vietnamese bank has rejected a token compensation offer, saying the it’s too low and that the bank needs to be more transparent.

Chu Thi Binh, a seafood businesswoman, found out late last year that the money had disappeared from her account at Eximbank, and police have confirmed that a bank executive forged documents to steal the money before fleeing overseas.

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The case was made public last month and Eximbank has offered to pay her VND14.8 billion, or 6 percent of her loss, “to help her solve the problem”.

Binh said she has turned down the offer. “The bank has not mentioned how it plans to return the money I lost,” she said.

According to the police investigation, Le Nguyen Hung,a  former deputy director of Eximbank in Ho Chi Minh City, committed forgery to steal Binh’s money.

The bank’s CEO Le Van Quyet has said that Binh will have to face trial before any compensation is paid.

“Once a court decides that Eximbank is responsible for returning the money, we will do so immediately,” he said.

Local lawyer Bui Quang Tin said Eximbank’s solution is unreasonable. The bank is responsibile for returning the principal and interest to depositors regardless, he said.

It’s not clear when a trial will be held, and Binh is not alone in her predicament.

Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, an agriculture businesswoman in Ho Chi Minh City, said that more than $1 million disappeared from her company’s account at VPBank in March 2015 and the case has yet to be resolved.

Two other cases of a VND32 billion ($1.4 million) loss at BIDV and a VND43 billion ($1.9 million) loss at VietABank in 2016 are also still under investigation.

Protection measures

Following the Eximbank scandal, the State Bank of Vietnam instructed lenders to strictly comply with legal regulations to protect against violations.

Credit organizations have been asked to improve technology to increase banking security, with the possibility of applying authentication measures for transactions and deposits.

Lenders have also been required to coordinate with relevant agencies to develop a more efficient warning system to minimize risks. In addition, they should keep customers informed about data protection and transaction procedures.

There should be more internal checks and rotation of staff in charge of deposits to prevent possible risks and to stop any violationa, the central bank said.

Lenders should also inform the central bank and relevant agencies ofany violations to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of customers are protected, the central bank added. – VNExpress



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