Ocean Bank freezes accounts of Ocean Hospitality

Friday, Jan 09, 2015 19:13

An office building of the Ocean Group. The accounts of this company and its affiliate Ocean Hospitality have been blocked at Ocean Bank for investigations. — Photo vnexpress.net

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — The Ocean Bank blocked the accounts of Ocean Hospitality on January 7, two days after it did the same with the hotel operator's parent firm, the Ocean Group.

Ocean Hospitality Chairman Ha Trong Nam shared the development on the company's website and in despatches sent to the State Securities Commission and the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on January 8.

The Ocean Group said in an online statement on January 8 that the account freeze is temporary and has been implemented to aid police investigations into allegations of lending operation violations at the bank, following a criminal prosecution decision issued by the authorities last October.

"All operations and transactions of the Ocean Group are still taking place normally and are under our control," the notice said, adding that the company's accounts at other banks and credit institutions are also operating normally.

"Currently, we are working with the Ocean Bank and relevant agencies to clarify this blockade request, and will notify you as soon as possible," it told customers, partners and shareholders.

Former Ocean Bank deputy general director Nguyen Van Hoan was arrested on December 22 for allegedly acting as an accomplice of Ha Van Tham, who was the former chairman of the bank and was arrested on October 24.

The police found that Tham had signed a decision approving a VND500 billion (US$23.4 million) loan to the Trung Dung Commercial Ltd Company, even though he was aware that the firm's loan application was unsatisfactory.

Financial reports for the third quarter of 2014 revealed that on September 30, the Ocean Group had deposited over VND407 billion (US$19.38 million) out of its total VND550 billion ($26.19 million) deposited assets, at the Ocean Bank.

The company borrowed nearly VND655 billion ($31.19 million) from the bank, or 22 per cent of its total debt. It is also among the largest shareholders of the bank, owning a 20 per cent stake in the bank.

The Ha Noi-based Ocean Group has a charter capital of VND3 trillion ($142.86 million) and deals in banking and finance, real estate, hotel and media. It reportedly owns nearly 67 per cent of Ocean Hospitality's equity.

On January 9, Ocean Group shares hit dived, closing down 0.4 points at VND6,300 ($0.3) per share on the HCM City Stock Exchange. Ocean Hospitality shares also saw no trading, with their reference price anchored at VND25,100 ($1.2) per share on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

The accounts of the Pacific Asset Management Company were also blocked at the Ocean Bank on January 5 following a police order. The firm reportedly holds a 5.97 per cent stake in Ocean Hospitality and is chaired by Ocean Hospitality Deputy General Director Le Minh Thanh. — VNS

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