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Vietnam’s biggest fraud trial gets underway

Property tycoon Truong My Lan is accused of bribery, embezzlement and bank fraud.

The chairwoman of property company Van Thinh Phat went on trial in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday, accused of misappropriating more than US$12 billion in Vietnam’s biggest fraud case.

Truong My Lan, 68, is accused of bribery, embezzlement and violating bank regulations in connection with a VND304 trillion loan from Saigon Commercial Bank, or SCB.

Hundreds of police officers were called out to provide security at the trial, Vietnamese media reported.

Lan’s Hong Kong billionaire husband Eric Chu is accused of helping her secure the illegal loan from SCB – more than 90% owned by Lan – causing the bank to lose the equivalent of US$369 million.

Police and security guards guarded the court entrances from possible protests by angry investors as nearly 80 defendants arrived early Tuesday morning. 

The accused include 45 SCB executives, 15 State Bank of Vietnam officials, three government inspectors and a former official at the State Audit Office, according to media reports. Eight defendants are on the run, with international arrest warrants out for them.

Thousands of witnesses have been called to testify in a trial expected to last two months.

The case has claimed the cash of an estimated 42,000 victims, SCB bondholders who haven’t seen a return on their investments since Lan’s arrest in Oct. 2022, leading to rare protests in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city.

Edited by Taejun Kang and Elaine Chan.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by By Mike Firn for RFA.


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By Mike Firn for RFA | Radio Free (2024-03-05T07:53:56+00:00) Vietnam’s biggest fraud trial gets underway. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2024/03/05/vietnams-biggest-fraud-trial-gets-underway/

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