Vietnam News

Vietnam property tycoon faces trial over $12.5 billion fraud

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A Vietnamese court will try prominent businesswoman Truong My Lan in a case of alleged fraud that resulted in trillions of dong in losses to a local lender.

The case against Lan, chairwoman of developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, will be heard by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court, according to the indictment document posted on a government website. It didn’t specify when the trial will commence.

Lan was arrested in October last year along with three others, including the group’s CEO, on suspicion of appropriating trillions of dong from investors and other entities.

Lan’s trial is one of the high-profile cases to emerge from the Vietnam Communist Party’s crackdown on corruption since 2021. Her detention led to a brief run on the Saigon Commercial Bank because of its perceived connections with the group.

Van Thinh Phat and Saigon Commercial didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment.

Lan had a nearly-complete control over Saigon Commercial Bank because she owned between 85% to 91.5% of the bank’s shares in 2012 through October 2022, according to the indictment document. She ordered creation of hundreds of fake loan documents to access more than 304 trillion dong ($12.5 billion) from the lender, which incurred over 129 trillion dong in damages between February 2018 and October 2022, it said.

In October, Vietnam’s public security ministry alleged Van Thinh Phat, which has held prime land lots across Ho Chi Minh City, defrauded and appropriated over 30 trillion dong from about 42,000 investors.

Several others including executives at Saigon Commercial Bank, as well as former officials officials of Vietnam’s central bank, the government inspectorate and the State Audit Office will be tried, according to the document.

By Mai Ngoc Chau – Bloomberg – December 18, 2023

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