Vietnam Real Estate Tycoon Truong My Lan Sentenced to Death

Truong My Lan, the 67-year-old chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was sentenced to death by a court in Ho Chi Minh City. The verdict followed a month-long trial, the country’s largest financial fraud case.

Vietnam Real Estate Tycoon Truong My Lan Sentenced to Death

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Lan, the 67-year-old chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat (VTP), was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and violations of banking rules.

The fraud amounted to $12.5 billion, representing approximately 3% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2022. Lan’s illegal activities involved controlling the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) from 2012 to 2022. She utilized thousands of ghost companies and bribes to government officials to siphon off funds.

Prosecutors revealed that Lan’s actions led to over 2,500 unauthorized loans from SCB, resulting in massive losses totaling $27 billion.

This sum accounted for a portion, approximately 6%, of Vietnam’s GDP in 2023. Around 42,000 individuals fell victim to the scheme.

Lan’s modus operandi included showing an elaborate network of shell companies and proxies to control SCB, surpassing legal ownership limits. Her loans constituted a 93% of the bank’s lending portfolio.

Lan stood accused of masterminding a $27 billion fraud, a figure equivalent to 6% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2023.

Prosecutors outlined a scheme spanning a decade, alleging that Lan illegally controlled the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) from 2012 to 2022. Through a labyrinth of ghost companies and illicit loans, Lan siphoned off billions.

Central to the prosecution’s case was the portrayal of Lan as the architect of an elaborate criminal network.

Thousands of ghost companies, controlled by Lan and her associates, facilitated the embezzlement of funds from SCB.

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The court deemed Lan’s actions as a sophisticated criminal enterprise, with consequences that undermined public trust in the country’s leadership.

Lan’s trial, which commenced in March, captured national attention, with state media providing extensive coverage of the proceedings.

The mounting evidence against her, Lan maintained her innocence throughout the trial. However, the court delivered a resounding verdict, sentencing Lan to death for embezzlement, bribery, and violations of banking regulations.

Lan’s downfall unfolded against the backdrop of Vietnam’s anti-corruption drive, started by Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Dubbed the “Blazing Furnace” campaign, it has seen the ousting of high-ranking officials and business leaders implicated in corruption scandals. Lan’s arrest in October 2022 was a moment in this campaign.

Lan’s husband, Eric Chu Nap-Kee, faced a nine-year jail term, while her niece received a 17-year sentence. Lan’s arrest is a statement in Vietnam’s ongoing anti-corruption drive, dubbed the “Blazing Furnace” campaign.

Led by Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the campaign has targeted high-ranking officials and business elites involved in corrupt practices.

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