Appeals court upholds Coffee King’s right to manage Trung Nguyen group

By Hai Duyen   December 5, 2019 | 05:00 am PT
Appeals court upholds Coffee King’s right to manage Trung Nguyen group
Dang Le Nguyen Vu arriving at court before the sentencing session, December 5, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
A HCMC court has upheld a previous decision on the divorce and division of assets between Vietnam’s Coffee King and his ex-wife.

The HCMC Appellate Court Thursday rejected appeals by both Dang Le Nguyen Vu, 48, founder, chairman and CEO of the Trung Nguyen Group, and his ex-wife Le Hoang Diep Thao, 46, against the verdict issued in March by the court of first instance.

The court finalized the divorce between Vu and Thao as well as the ruling that Thao will raise the four children the couple have had together with the father providing VND10 billion ($432,000) a year starting from 2013 until they graduate from college.

Vu will receive all of his and Thao’s stocks in Trung Nguyen Group, estimated at over VND5.7 trillion ($246.5 million), the court ruled, again sticking to the first-instance decision, and allowed Vu sole management rights over the Trung Nguyen coffee empire.

Vu will also receive 6 properties worth VND350 billion ($15.14 million) that are jointly owned by the couple.

Thao will receive cash and cash equivalents, gold and foreign currency belonging to the Trung Nguyen group that have been deposited at banks totaling VND1.76 trillion ($76.11 million). Vu is liable to pay the difference in assets to Thao, nearly VND1.22 trillion ($52.7 million).

She will also receive 7 properties worth over VND376 billion ($16.26 million).

The court also acknowledged Vu’s voluntary transfer of a jointly owned company called Trung Nguyen International Co., Ltd. (TNI) in Singapore to Thao, which the latter had said was worth "peanuts" at VND100 billion ($4.32 million).

Thao did not show up at the court and was represented by her lawyer.

Vu and Thao married in 1998 and built Trung Nguyen into one of the biggest brands in the country. But they began to have differences in 2013, and in 2015, Thao filed for divorce.

In March, the court of first instance had ruled that the stocks and cash of the Trung Nguyen Coffee group shared by Vu and Thao, as well as the couple's cash deposits, would be split 60:40 in Vu’s favor.

Thao had appealed against the entire verdict, asking to be reunited with Vu. She also disagreed with the court's decision to split the couple's shared assets in Trung Nguyen 60:40 in Vu's favor and give him the right to manage the Trung Nguyen empire.

Vu, for his part, appealed against the court's ruling on the settlement of the couple's shared assets, reiterating his original demand for the split to be 70:30 in his favor.

The Trung Nguyen Group’s pre-tax profit fell 50 percent year-on-year last year to VND347 billion ($15.01 million).

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