How Truong My Lan appropriated $1.2B from bond issuances

By Hai Duyen   June 6, 2024 | 08:15 pm PT
How Truong My Lan appropriated $1.2B from bond issuances
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City in April 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
The police have identified property tycoon Truong My Lan as the mastermind behind a scheme to issue bonds worth VND30.87 trillion (US$1.2 billion) retail investors and never redeem them.

In 2018 she met with several leaders of Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) to draft a bond issuance plan to resolve some financial difficulties the bank faced.

They decided to issue the bonds through four subsidiaries of Van Thinh Phat -- of which she was the chairwoman -- with a coupon rate higher than SCB’s deposit interest rates.

They issued 25 tranches and collected VND30.87 trillion from investors.

The money was never used for the intended purposes at the bank, and instead Lan and her accomplices diverted it for other purposes, resulting in not being able to repay investors, the police said.

As of October 2022, when the police began their investigation, the four subsidiaries still had VND30.08 trillion in bond debts they were unable to redeem.

Lan had ordered Nguyen Phuong Hong, a director at SCB, to manage the money. Most of it was used to pay for debts of individuals and businesses related to Van Thinh Phat.

The police said that during the investigation Lan had admitted to proposing the bond issuance plan. She admitted it was illegal and took responsibility for the wrongdoing. She exhorted organizations and individuals who used the money to help her redeem the bonds.

The police have recommended fresh charges of fraudulent appropriation of assets against her for this alleged crime. They also recommended charges of money laundering and illegal cross-border currency trafficking.

Thirty three others are set to face similar charges.

Lan has already been given the death penalty for causing a loss of VND677 trillion ($27 billion) to SCB, a sentence she has appealed.

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