A Vietnamese Court Sentences Billionaire Fraudster Truong My Lan To Death

(PatriotWise.com) — A Vietnamese real estate mogul was sentenced to death in a Ho Chi Minh City courtroom last Thursday as part of the country’s largest financial fraud investigation in history, the Associated Press reported.

Truong My Lan, who owns Vietnam’s richest real estate firm, Van Thinh Phat, was charged in early March with fraud and bribery.

The 67-year-old Lan, who was arrested in October, was one of over 80 people prosecuted in connection to a far-reaching anti-corruption investigation that reached into the upper echelons of Vietnam’s political elite. Even former President Vo Van Thuong was implicated in the investigation. He resigned from office last month.

Lan was accused of embezzling $12.5 billion from Saigon Joint Commercial Bank, which she illegally controlled for a decade. During that time, she orchestrated 2,500 loans to “ghost companies,” resulting in losses of $27 billion for the bank.

The court sentenced her to death despite Lan’s lack of a criminal record and her many charitable activities due to the seriousness of the charges. According to the court, she oversaw a sophisticated criminal enterprise that eroded the people’s trust in the Party and State. The court said Lan’s embezzlement forced the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank into special control.

Van Thinh Phat CEO Truong Hue Van, Lan’s niece, was also sentenced last Thursday to 17 years in prison. Lan’s husband, Eric Chu Nap-kee, received a nine-year sentence for his role in the fraud.

The Van Thinh Phat real estate firm was founded by Lan’s family in 1992 at the time Vietnam was adopting a more market-based economy. The firm would later become Vietnam’s richest real estate company, overseeing lucrative projects like shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, and luxury residential buildings.

In 2011, Lan orchestrated a merger between SCB Bank and two other financial firms with the help of Vietnam’s central bank. According to the court, this merger was arranged to give Lan access to the firm’s money.

Former central bank official Do Thi Nhan, who took $5.2 billion in bribes from Lan, was also sentenced last Thursday to life in prison.

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