The billionaire is sentenced to death, involved in one of the biggest financial frauds in the history of Vietnam

2024-04-12 17:52:11Kosova&Bota SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Truong My Lan

A court in Vietnam has sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death.

The 67-year-old was convicted for her role in a $12.46 billion financial fraud case and defrauding one of the state's largest banks. This is being considered as the most spectacular trial ever conducted in Vietnam, with the discovery of the largest bank fraud in the country.

This verdict is very rare, as very few women have been sentenced to death in Vietnam, especially for a crime of this nature.

Truong My Lan's trial began on March 5 and ended earlier than planned in what was described as the dramatic end to an anti-corruption campaign launched by ruling Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong.

Lan, head of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and banking violations at the end of a trial in the business center of Ho Chi Minh City, state media reported.

"We will continue the battle and see what we can do," a family member told the Reuters news agency.

Before the verdict was handed down, he said Lan would appeal the sentence. Lan had pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and bribery charges.

According to records, Truong My Lan extorted more than $44 billion in loans from Saigon Commercial Bank.

According to the communist authorities, a total of 2,700 people were called to testify in the case, and 10 prosecutors and more than 200 lawyers were involved. Evidence was found in more than 104 boxes weighing about 6 tons.

All the accused were found guilty and received life imprisonment, or 20 years depending on the degree of involvement. Truong My Lan comes from a Vietnamese family living in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

She started her career as a saleswoman in the local bazaar, selling cosmetic products with her mother, and then started buying land and property after the Communist Party made a new economic reform known as Doi Moi in 1986. Until 1990, she owned a chain of hotels and restaurants. By 2011, Truong My Lan was known as one of the most important business figures in her city and was allowed to cooperate with the 3 most popular banks in the country which were part of the Saigon ethnicity.

Vietnamese law prohibits an individual from holding more than 5% of shares or loans in the country's banks, but prosecutors say Truong My Lan managed to own more than 90% of the shares in Saigo Commercial, using individuals others and companies created to take its place.

Its loans account for 93% of all loans distributed by the bank in question. According to prosecutors, over a period of 3 years from February 2019, she ordered her driver to withdraw more than $4 billion in cash from the bank and stored it in the basement.

Vietnam imposes the death penalty mainly for violent crimes, but also for economic crimes. Human rights groups say the country has executed hundreds of convicts in recent years, mostly by lethal injection.