Mega property project Saigon Peninsula used for $5.4B loans of Van Thinh Phat chairwoman

By Hai Duyen   March 18, 2024 | 07:49 pm PT
Mega property project Saigon Peninsula used for $5.4B loans of Van Thinh Phat chairwoman
An artist's impression of the Saigon Peninsula in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of the project
Saigon Peninsula, a mega luxury property project in Ho Chi Minh City, was used by Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan and her accomplices as collateral for loans worth VND133.71 trillion (US$5.4 billion).

The 118-hectare project, also known as Mui Den Do, received approval from the city in 2007 for a $6-billion complex of villas, apartments, offices, hotels, and a boat pier. It was the biggest project of its kind in Vietnam at the time.

But even before the project was developed, Lan used it as collateral to obtain 137 loans from Saigon Commercial Bank for 100 companies and individuals controlled by her, according to the prosecution at her ongoing trial for embezzlement from the bank.

By October 2022 the project was securing VND108 trillion in principal and VND26 trillion in interest. It was a major collateral that secured 22% of Lan and her accomplices’ loans at SCB.

As the project failed to be developed, most of its land has now been returned to local residents.

Former CEO of SCB Truong Khanh Hoang had admitted to approving a loan that used Saigon Peninsula as collateral.

He told investigators and the court that he knew that the approval had no legal ground as the assets of Saigon Peninsula were yet to be developed and the project still needed the final approval from the Prime Minister.

But he did that by the order of Lan, he said, adding that without Lan’s order none of the loans secured by the project would have been taken out of SCB.

At the ongoing trial, Lan faces charges of bribery, violating banking regulations and embezzlement.

Between 2012 and 2022 she allegedly instructed the SCB management to give her loans worth over VND1 quadrillion ($44 billion), equivalent to 93% of its entire loan portfolio.

The trial is scheduled to go on until April 29.

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