1. Home
  2. English
  3. Business
  4. Communist Vietnam: In a $27 bn fraud, a billionaire woman sentenced to death
Communist Vietnam: In a $27 bn fraud, a billionaire woman sentenced to death

Communist Vietnam: In a $27 bn fraud, a billionaire woman sentenced to death

Social Share

Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: In a rare case of its kind in a Communist-ruled country, a leading billionaire woman realtor has been sentenced to death in Vietnam for defrauding over 42,000 people of USD 27 billion, which is equivalent to six percent of the Southeast nation’s GDP, the media reported on Thursday.

According to reports, a top Vietnamese property tycoon was sentenced to death on Thursday in one of the biggest corruption cases in history, with an estimated USD 27 billion in damages.

A panel of three hand-picked jurors and two judges rejected all defense arguments by the accused, Truong My Lan, chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, who was found guilty of swindling cash from Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) over a decade.

“The defendant’s actions… eroded people’s trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and state,” read the verdict at the trial.
Lan, however, denied the charges and blamed her subordinates.

After a five-week trial in business hub Ho Chi Minh City, 85 others also face verdicts and sentencing on charges ranging from bribery and abuse of power to appropriation and banking law violations.

Lan embezzled USD 12.5 billion, but prosecutors said on Thursday the total damages caused by the scam now amounted to USD 27 billion, which is equivalent to six percent of the country’s 2023 GDP.

The death sentence is an unusually severe punishment in such a case.

Hundreds of people staged protests in the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, a relatively rare occurrence in the one-party communist state, after Lan’s arrest in October 2022.

Police identified around 42,000 victims of the scandal, which has shocked the Southeast Asian country.

Lan, who is married to a wealthy Hong Kong businessman, also on trial, was accused of setting up fake loan applications to withdraw money from SCB, in which she owned a 90 percent stake.

Police say the scam’s victims are all SCB bondholders who cannot withdraw their money and have not received interest or principal payments since Lan’s arrest.

Prosecutors said they had seized more than 1,000 properties belonging to Lan during the trial.

Authorities also said USD 5.2 million allegedly given by Lan and some SCB bankers to state officials to conceal the bank’s violations and poor financial situation was the largest-ever bribe recorded in Vietnam.

The woman offered the bribe — Do Thi Nhan, the former head of the State Bank of Vietnam’s inspection team — said during the trial the cash was handed to her in Styrofoam boxes by the former CEO of SCB, Vo Tan Van.

After realizing they contained money, Nhan refused the boxes but Van declined to take them back, state media reported.

More than 4,400 people have been indicted during Vietnam’s anti-corruption crackdown, across over 1,700 graft cases, since 2021.
Last month, a top Vietnamese luxury property tycoon — Do Anh Dung, head of the Tan Hoang Minh group — was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of cheating thousands of investors in a USD 355 million bond scam.


Your email address will not be published.

Join our WhatsApp Channel

And stay informed with the latest news and updates.

Join Now
revoi whats app qr code