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Royal fight brews stronger as queen accuses Vietnam’s coffee king of forgery

By Thi Ha   December 2, 2018 | 06:17 pm PT
Royal fight brews stronger as queen accuses Vietnam’s coffee king of forgery
Le Hoang Diep Thao said that Trung Nguyen Group has forged signatures to remove her from the company. Photo from Thao’s Facebook page
The estranged wife of Vietnam’s “Coffee King” has accused her husband’s company of forging signatures to remove her.

Le Hoang Diep Thao, wife of Trung Nguyen founder Dang Le Nguyen Vu, has claimed in court that the coffee company has faked two documents.

Her accusation prompted a court in the southern province of Binh Duong to postpone its verdict in a case until the said documents are verified.

The documents in question are meeting minutes and a decision taken at a general meeting of shareholders in December 2011, authorizing Vu as a legal representative of  Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee Corporation (Trung Nguyen IC) and the manager of the Trung Nguyen IC plant in Binh Duong.

Until then, Thao was the legal representative of Trung Nguyen IC, known for its G7 packaged coffee.

She said that the documents, which Trung Nguyen submitted to the Binh Duong court as requested, were only photocopies and did not have a specific date.

The content of the documents contradict each other and there are signs that signatures have been forged, Thao said. She has asked for these documents to be verified three times.

In May 2006, Thao was appointed Trung Nguyen's deputy general director, allowing her to manage the company under Vu's authorization.

She claims that under her management, Trung Nguyen's charter capital increased from VND150 billion ($6.5 million) to VND2.5 trillion ($108.7 million) and both the company's annual revenue and profit grew significantly.

However, in July 2014, Vu signed a decision to dismiss Thao as deputy general director without the board of directors' approval. He also instructed his employees to demolish her office and block her from entering the company's headquarters, Thao alleged.

Furthermore, he prevented Thao from performing her rights and responsibilities as Trung Nguyen's shareholder and a board member, prompting her to file the lawsuit.

The court of Ho Chi Minh City on September 20 reinstated Thao as the deputy general director, co-owner and co-founder of Trung Nguyen Group, but on the very next day Vu dismissed her for the second time, accusing Thao of threatening Vu's partners during the couple's struggles over property and rights to manage and run the company.

In addition to the lawsuit on deputy general directorship, Thao and Vu are also involved in several other legal disputes including their divorce, management rights over Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee Company and a case filed against the head of the Business Registration Office under Binh Duong Province's Department of Planning and Investment.

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