Truong My Lan's Hong Kong tycoon husband handed 9-year jail term

By Hai Duyen, Quoc Thang   April 11, 2024 | 02:20 am PT
Truong My Lan's Hong Kong tycoon husband handed 9-year jail term
Eric Chu, husband of Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan, is seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on April 11, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Hong Kong property magnate Eric Chu was given a nine-year prison sentence on Thursday for aiding his wife, Truong My Lan, in a fraud that led to a VND677 trillion ($27 billion) loss at Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB).

Chu, 68, is guilty of violating lending regulations in activities of credit organizations, judges said at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City.

As the chairman of Times Square Vietnam, in which he owns a 99% stake, Chu twice signed documents to approve the use of the Times Square building as collaterals for 73 loans.

His approval caused a loss of VND9.12 trillion to SCB.

Judges said that Chu, as a foreigner who does not speak Vietnamese, trusted his wife in approving the documents without knowing their purposes.

He expressed remorse and cooperated with investigators. Additional mitigating factors include receiving a labor medal from the State and commendations from Ho Chi Minh City for his community work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

His wife, chairwoman of property developer Van Thinh Phat, was given death sentence for crimes of bribery, violating banking regulations and embezzlement.

From 2012 to 2022 Lan and her accomplices obtained 2,500 loans and caused losses of VND677 trillion to the bank.

At 68, Lan was identified as the ringleader in this prolonged scheme and committed elaborate and organized crimes, causing irrevocable consequences, judges said.

She is ordered to compensate SCB VND673.8 trillion.

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