Death penalty for Vietnam tycoon in $19b fraud case

Truong My Lan has been sentenced to death for her role in Vietnam's largest financial fraud case.

Truong My Lan has been sentenced to death for her role in Vietnam's largest financial fraud case. Photo: AAP

A court in Vietnam has sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death over her role in a 304 trillion dong ($19.1 billion) financial fraud case – the country’s biggest on record.

Her trial, which began on March 5 and ended sooner than planned, was a dramatic result of a campaign against corruption that the leader of the ruling Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, has pledged for years to stamp out.

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 the business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, state media said.

“We will keep fighting to see what we can do,” a family member told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Before Thursday’s verdict, he had said Lan would appeal the sentence.

Lan’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

It was not clear how Lan had pleaded, although state media has quoted prosecutors as saying she had not pleaded guilty.

The Thanh Nien newspaper said 84 defendants in the case received sentences ranging from probation for three years to life imprisonment.

Lan and her accomplices were accused of siphoning off more than 304 trillion dong from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), which she effectively controlled through dozens of proxies, according to investigators.

From early 2018 until October 2022, when the state bailed out SCB after a run on its deposits, Lan appropriated large sums by arranging unlawful loans to shell companies, investigators said.

Vietnam’s graft crackdown, dubbed “Blazing Furnace”, has led to hundreds of senior state officials and high-profile business executives being prosecuted or forced to step down.

After one series of big corporate arrests in 2022, Vietnamese stocks suffered a wipeout of $US40 billion ($61 billion), rattling investor confidence at a delicate moment for the fast-growing economy.


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