Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Truong My Lan, the chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat, a major Vietnamese property developer, is set to face trial over allegations of embezzling a staggering $12.5 billion from Saigon Commercial Bank. The trial, which will take place at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court, involves accusations of embezzlement, bribery, and violation of banking regulations.

According to official government sources, Lan is accused of orchestrating a complex scheme involving 916 fake loan applications between February 9, 2018, and October 7, 2022, exploiting her significant ownership stake in the bank. This illicit activity resulted in the appropriation of more than 304 trillion dong ($12.5 billion).

The trial doesn’t stand alone, as 85 other individuals, including a former State Bank of Vietnam official implicated in accepting $5.2 million in bribes, will also face legal proceedings in Ho Chi Minh City. Van Thinh Phat, established in 1992 and known for its high-end hotels, restaurants, luxury apartments, and financial services investments, now finds itself at the center of this financial scandal.

The alleged misappropriation by Truong My Lan represents approximately three percent of Vietnam’s total GDP for 2022. This development adds to the ongoing anti-corruption efforts in Vietnam, led by Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong. The government crackdown has seen over 3,500 people indicted in more than 1,300 graft cases since 2021.

This legal action follows recent charges against Truong Quy Thanh, the head of Tan Hiep Phat Group, for appropriating $31.5 million, and Do Anh Dung, chairman of Tan Hoang Minh Group, who faces prosecution for the illegal acquisition of $355 million in a bond sale involving over 6,500 investors. The trial of Truong My Lan and her associates reflects the ongoing commitment to rooting out corruption within Vietnam’s business and financial sectors.

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