American bankers who brought on the 2008 global financial collapse, by and large, didn’t get indicted, or face any significant consequences for their actions. In fact, many of them even got huge bonuses.
That wouldn’t have been the case in Vietnam, another nation struggling with corrupt and unscrupulous bankers.
During a recent cleanup of Vietnam’s financial sector, the strictly authoritarian nation sentenced three bankers to death by firing squad in the past six months alone.
A pair currently on death row had embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Back in March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam Development Bank, found himself sentenced to death by firing squad over a $93-million swindling job.
According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, many of the co-conspirators got life in prison, with the “Madoffs” of Vietnam being the high-profile characters who were sentenced to death. The point, many in Vietnam say, is to send a message.
Adam McCarty, chief economist with the Hanoi-based consulting firm Mekong Economics, says that “It’s a message to those in this game to be less greedy and that business as usual is getting out of hand.”
“The message to people in the system is this: Your chances of getting caught are increasing,” McCarty continued. “Don’t just rely on big people above you. Because some of these [perpetrators] would’ve had big people above them. And it didn’t help them.”
“They don’t care about foreigners. It’s all internal politics,” McCarty said. He explains that foreign banking learders wouldn’t be dissuaded by a few executions anyway. “If you really want to want to resolve the problem, you can’t just arrest people,” he said. “You’ve got to improve accountability and transparency in the entire system.”
A local, Vietnames op-ed recently ran, confronting this issue, saying that, “it is better to prevent corruption,” the paper opined, “than deal with it after the fact.”
(Article by M.B. David)