A former police officer will spend three and a half years in jail for blackmailing a bank branch director for VND3 billion ($129,000).
A HCMC court said Monday that it was showing leniency to Nguyen Thanh Don, 36, who used to work at the Department of Social Security under the Ministry of Public Security, because he had repented and admitted his crime sincerely.
Don was found guilty of “extortion of property,” a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail under Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Don told the court that he became friends with Le Ba Tho, who worked at Branch No.4 of the state-owned Agribank on Hoang Dieu Street in HCMC’s District 4.
Tho once told Don that Tran Van Gam, the branch director, had made many mistakes and gave him some documents related to the latter’s bad debts as well as a letter of denunciation.
On January 5 last year Don called Gam using a fake name and demanded VND3 billion ($129,000) in exchange for not exposing the latter’s actions to investigators.
Two days later, he asked Gam to come to his office on Nguyen Trai Street in District 1 and give him VND1.5 billion ($64,600) in advance. He then deputed his cousin Tran Duy Quang to meet Gam and take the money, promising him VND200 million ($8,600).
On January 8, Gam, carrying a bag without money inside, visited Don’s office. When Quang appeared, Gam asked to see the incriminating documents first, but the former refused. Quang was arrested by officers from the Ministry of Public Security as he accepted the bag from Gam.
While the bank branch director had informed the police of the blackmail attempt, information has not been released about the veracity of Tho’s information and denunciation.
On seeing Quang get arrested, Don escaped on a motorbike and destroyed all documents provided by Tho. After nine months of investigation, police officers arrested Don in October last year.
Since Quang and Tho insisted they didn’t know Don had used the documents to blackmail Gam, there was insufficient evidence to charge them with any crime, investigators said.