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What to know about Vietnam tycoon sentenced to death in $12.5 billion fraud case

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A Vietnamese real estate tycoon has been sentenced to death Thursday marked the country’s largest ever financial fraud case, a shocking development in the Southeast Asian country’s intensifying anti-corruption campaign.

Truong My Lan, a prominent businesswoman who ran a sprawling company that developed luxury apartments, hotels, offices and shopping malls, was arrested in 2022. The 67-year-old was formally charged of $12.5 billion fraud –- almost 3% of the country’s GDP in 2022.

Death sentences are not uncommon in Vietnam, but they are rare in financial crime cases and for someone so well known.

Here is an overview of the main details of the case:

WHO IS MY LAN REAL?

Lan was born in 1956 and started out helping sell cosmetics with her mother, a Chinese businesswoman, in Ho Chi Minh City’s oldest market, according to state media outlet Tien Phong.

She and her family established the Van Thinh Phat Company in 1992, when Vietnam abandoned its state-run economy in favor of a more market-oriented economy open to foreigners. Over the years, VTP has become one of the richest real estate companies in Vietnam.

Today, the company is linked to some of the most valuable properties in downtown Ho Chi Minh, including the glittering 39-story Times Square Saigon, the five-star Windsor Plaza hotel, the Capital Place office building 37-story building and the five-star Sherwood Residence hotel where Lan lived until his arrest.

Lan met her husband, Hong Kong investor Eric Chu Nap-kee, in 1992. They have two daughters.

WHAT IS SHE ACCUSED OF?

Lan was involved in the 2011 merger of the troubled Saigon Joint Commercial Bank, or SCB, with two other lenders in a plan coordinated by Vietnam’s central bank.

She is accused of using the bank as a cash cow, controlling it illegally between 2012 and 2022 and using thousands of “ghost companies” in Vietnam and abroad to grant loans to her. itself and its allies, according to government documents.

The loans led to losses of $27 billion, state media VN Express reported on Thursday.

She was accused of paying bribes to government officials – including a former central official who was sentenced to life in prison for accepting $5.2 million in bribes. wine – and violating banking regulations, according to government documents.

The court sentenced her to death, saying her actions “not only violated the property management rights of individuals, but also pushed the SCB into a state of special control, eroding public confidence in the leadership of the (communist) party and the state.”

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?

Lan’s arrest in October 2022 is one of the most high-profile in an ongoing conflict. anti-corruption campaign in Vietnam which has accelerated since 2022.

A few weeks after his trial begin early March, former president Vo Van Thuong resigned after being involved in the so-called “Burning Furnace” campaign, which is the trademark of Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the country’s most powerful politician.

While Lan’s arrest and the scale of the scam shocked the nation, the case also raised questions about whether other banks or companies had made the same mistake. dampen Vietnam’s economic prospects and make foreign investors nervous.

This comes as Vietnam tries to make its case as an ideal country for businesses trying to move away from neighboring China.

News Source : apnews.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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