A Vietnamese former banker and his business associate have been sentenced to death for their part in the embezzlement of $25 million, state media has reported.

The pair were among 11 defendants in the nine-day trial in Ho Chi Minh City, state media reported on Saturday, in a case that has highlighted Vietnam's efforts to show it is stamping out corruption in the face of widespread public anger over the issue.

Vu Quoc Hao, 58, the one-time chief of a finance subsidiary of the state-owned Vietnam Agribank and building firm boss Dang Van Hai, 56, were sentenced to death on Friday, according to state television.

"They were given the sentences for embezzlement of assets, mismanagement, abuse of power and fraud, causing serious consequences to the state," it said.

The other nine defendants were jailed for up to 14 years for violating state economic regulations, the report added.

The group was accused of embezzling more than $25 million of state money between April 2008 and March 2009 by falsifying financial leasing contracts, according to reports on state media.

Vietnam is rated one of the world's most corrupt nations and graft is a top concern for many ordinary people.  The communist government has vowed to clamp down on the issue. 

"There will be strict punishment for state cadres and officials who received bribes," warned the deputy prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, at an anti-corruption dialogue held in Hanoi on Tuesday, according to the government's website.

Vietnam resumed executions by lethal injection earlier this year, drawing criticism from the UN's human rights office.

Source: Agencies