Home Asean News Court Sentences Vietnam Property Tycoon To Death In $12.5 Billion Financial Fraud

Court Sentences Vietnam Property Tycoon To Death In $12.5 Billion Financial Fraud

vietnam, property tycoon, Truong My Lan
Business woman Truong My Lan (Photo: Facebook)

A court in Vietnam on sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death over her role in a $12.46 billion financial fraud case, the country’s biggest on record.

Lan, the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and violations of banking rules at the end of a trial in Vietnam’s business hub Ho Chi Minh City, according to online newspaper VnExpress.

The 67-year-old chair of the real estate company Van Thinh Phat was accused of fraud amounting to nearly 3% of the country’s 2022 GDP. She illegally controlled the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank between 2012 to 2022 to siphon of these funds through thousands of ghost companies and by paying bribes to government officials.

Lan’s arrest in October 2022 was among the most high-profile in an ongoing anti-corruption drive in Vietnam that has intensified since 2022. The so-called Blazing Furnace campaign has touched the highest echelons of Vietnamese politics. Former President Vo Van Thuong resigned in March after being implicated in the campaign.

According to the government, My Lan operated a network of over 1,000 domestic and foreign subsidiaries along with shell companies that took $43 billion in loans from the bank. A third of these loans went to ghost companies which she and her family created.

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The government officials probing the case recommended the prosecution of 85 people, including 24 government officials and associates of Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group and Saigon Commercial Bank.

This could be the largest corruption scandal in Southeast Asian history, easily surpassing the scandal in Malaysia where $4.45 billion were stolen from the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The latest scandal has started affecting the business confidence of private companies as a host of companies were investigated for corruption allegations last year. In recent years, Vietnam has become one of the biggest economic success stories in Asia. Foreign direct investment rose to over $23 billion in 2023, up 3.5% from the previous year.

With inputs from Reuters