Cancel coffee royalty divorce ruling, says prosecutor's office

By Song Minh   January 13, 2022 | 09:07 pm PT
Cancel coffee royalty divorce ruling, says prosecutor's office
Le Hoang Diep Thao (L) and Dang Le Nguyen Vu. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Top prosecutor’s office has recommended that the divorce granted to Vietnam’s coffee King and Queen should be overturned due to errors in the trial process.

The six-year legal battle between Dang Le Nguyen Vu, founder and chairman of the coffee giant Trung Nguyen, and his wife Le Hoang Diep Thao could be revived after the Supreme People's Procuracy said the latter's rights had been overlooked during the trial.

It said the appeal court used an asset report furnished by Vu but not confirmed by Thao, and so the valuation of their assets needs to be done again.

The court of first instance had also been wrong since it used an expired business valuation report to divide the asset between Vu and Thao, it added.

Thao, a businesswoman, wanted to get a stake in Trung Nguyen as alimony, but the court decided on a financial settlement, which violated her "right to do business," it said.

The decision was also "inappropriate" since it flouted gender equality norms, it said.

There is no ground for the court's claim that "If Thao were to continue to manage and operate Trung Nguyen Group, the company will face difficulties and thousands of workers would be affected," it said.

Thao's rights were violated also by the fact she only received 40 percent of the combined assets as alimony while her husband got 60 percent even the lawsuit began in 2006, eight years after their marriage, and Thao had directly contributed to the creation of the combined assets, it pointed out.

The court did take into account Vu's responsibilities as a husband set out in marriage and family laws, it said.

Thao should get a higher portion of the assets, and the HCMC People's Court should hear the case again, it added.

Vu, 50, and Thao, 48, married in 1998 and she filed for divorce in 2015.

She asked for 51 percent of Trung Nguyen Investment, the holding company that owns a majority of shares in Trung Nguyen Group.

She also proposed they should each get 15 percent (VND814 billion, $35 million) of the Trung Nguyen Group and 7.5 percent (VND43 billion, $1.85 million) of Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee.

She agreed to give Vu her shares in four other companies under the Trung Nguyen brand.

The Supreme People's Court ordered in May last year that Vu would get 59.1 percent of the combined assets of VND7.93 trillion ($345 million) while Thao would get the remaining 40.9 percent.

As for shares in the companies, valued at VND5.65 trillion, it ruled that they should be split 60:40 in Vu's favor and he would retain management of Trung Nguyen.

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