How Truong My Lan carried out $4.5B illegal cross-border transactions

By Viet Tuan   June 13, 2024 | 03:01 pm PT
How Truong My Lan carried out $4.5B illegal cross-border transactions
Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat, seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City in April 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Quynh
Property tycoon Truong My Lan used shell companies and fake contracts to transfer US$4.5 billion worth of money to and from foreign countries over a decade, the police said.

They said the chairwoman of property developer Van Thinh Phat used 21 subsidiaries to send $1.5 billion overseas between 2012 and 2022, and 21 others to receive $3 billion.

Fake contracts were used between the companies and their foreign partners. Most of the former were shell companies with no actual operations or employees.

Lan has claimed that she received loans from abroad and repaid debts. The money was sent through Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB), in which she directly and indirectly held a 91% stake.

One of her major accomplices was Truong Khanh Hoang, the bank’s acting CEO.

He approved cross-border transactions worth VND69 trillion ($2.71 billion) in just over a year ending August 2022, all without the legal permits and certificates required.

Some transactions were blocked by the bank’s system due to insufficient information, but Hoang ordered subordinates to manually override them to make the transfers.

Another CEO, Vo Tan Hoang Van, approved transfers of $516 million between 2018 and 2020. Bui Anh Dung, the bank’s chairman, approved a $30 million transfer in 2020.

The police have recommended that Lan and 33 other should be charged with fraudulent appropriation of assets, money laundering and illegal cross-border currency transfers.

Two foreigners were involved in cross-border transactions: Chen Yi Chung, SCB’s acting CEO, and Chiu Bing Keung Kenneth, who was the legal representative of 11 companies in Vietnam and overseas.

Chen approved transactions worth $708 million but has left Vietnam.

Kenneth created fake contracts and approved cross-border transactions worth $1.5 billion. He is also at an unidentified location overseas.

Lan was handed the death penalty in April at another trial, this one for causing a loss of VND677 trillion ($27 billion) to SCB. She has appealed.

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