Slim pickings for HCMC taxman from billion dollar land auctions

By Tat Dat   July 8, 2022 | 05:12 am PT
Slim pickings for HCMC taxman from billion dollar land auctions
The land lots that were auctioned for more than $1 billion in HCMC's Thu Thiem Peninsula on December 17, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The HCMC Tax Department has seized a measly VND820,000 ($35) from the bank account of a property developer who won Vietnam's most expensive property auction.

The company, Dream Republic, failed to pay the money it owed for a land lot in HCMC’s Thu Thiem Peninsula within the 180 days deadline, so the tax department seized its bank account to collect the debt.

But they found only VND820,000 there.

Another company, Sheen Mega, also failed to make similr payments in time and authorities found just VND40 million in its bank account.

Both companies owe a total of VND7.69 trillion ($329.2 million) for the land lots they won.

The figure does not include the combined payment delay fee of VND190.6 billion.

The auction of four land lots in Thu Thiem Peninsula, which took place in December last year, quickly made headlines at the time after one of the lots recorded a historic high price tag of VND2.4 billion ($104,000) per square meter.

But all four auction winners have failed to pay for their winning bids.

The Dream Republic, established in October 2017 with a charter capital of VND300 billion, does not seem to operate at its registered headquarters in HCMC’s District 1. The building’s security guards said no such company was located there.

Sheen Mega, with a charter capital of VND500 billion, was established for less than two months before the auction date.

Receptionists at the headquarters of the company in District 1 said that its employees do not show up often and its leaders are almost never there.

The company’s office phone numbers were unreachable.

The two other auction winners, Binh Minh and Ngoi Sao Viet (the latter a subsidiary of Tan Hoang Minh which has been accused of fraud), have cancelled their purchase contracts.

Tan Hoang Minh, a well-known Hanoi-based property developer with interests in luxury projects, has shut down all its offices nationwide to cut back on expenses as it seeks to refund investors after issuing VND10 trillion worth of bonds that government investigators declared fraudulent.

The company top leaders have been arrested.

HCMC tax authorities had collected a total of VND1.05 trillion from the four companies as of Thursday, including deposits they put down for the Thu Thiem auction.

However, this amounts to just 2.8 percent of the land lots' auction value, which is VND37.35 trillion ($1.6 billion).

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