Van Thinh Phat chairwoman offers personal assets to recompense for SCB losses

By Hai Duyen   March 13, 2024 | 06:35 am PT
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman offers personal assets to recompense for SCB losses
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan is seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on March 12, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan has offered to hand in 13 family-owned assets as compensation for the money she is accused of appropriating from Saigon Commercial Bank.

"Today, before the judges, I promise to submit my shares and the shares of my children and friends to the State Bank of Vietnam for the purpose of managing SCB," she told the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday.

The 68-year-old said foreign investors have stakes in them and so the court should grant her permission to negotiate with them.

Her daughter is selling a building in Hanoi worth around $1 billion to make recompense for the losses she caused the bank, she said.

She also wanted to use the VND1 trillion ($40.5 million) she received from business partner Nguyen Cao Tri, chairman of property developer Capella, to pay the compensation.

In a lengthy speech, she told the court the story of her life and how she ended up being involved with SCB.

While her family originated from China, she was born and raised in HCMC, where her mother worked as a vendor at Ben Thanh Market for 14 years.

Her family’s savings during those years allowed her to establish hospitality company Van Thinh Phat in 1992, and then gradually a number of subsidiaries.

She was asked by the State Bank of Vietnam to join a consulting board for the merger of two ailing banks with SCB.

Before the merger in 2012 she used some of her own assets to raise funds for the bank, including the five-star Windsor Hotel, which she used as collateral for a VND15-trillion loan.

"At the time I believed that with my ability and relationships I could help SCB."

She had been ready to lose those assets if the plan failed, but was "confident she would succeed."

She had claimed earlier in court she was not the major shareholder with control over the bank. Five shareholders who owned 35% of SCB were friends and partners and she had not asked them to hold the shares on her behalf.

She had great influence at SCB only because she had used her personal assets as collateral to get loans for the bank, but did not influence the board of directors.

She urged the judges to "carefully assess" the losses that she had purportedly caused the bank and the amount she allegedly obtained from it.

All other defendants have told the court that Lan was the mastermind behind the scam and they had acted entirely on her orders.

Lan is being tried for bribery, violating banking regulations and embezzlement.

Between 2012 and 2022 SCB gave her 2,500 loans worth over VND1 quadrillion ($44 billion), equivalent to 93% of its entire loan portfolio.

She is accused of causing losses of VND498 trillion to the lender.

Eighty five others are being tried for embezzlement, bribery, abuse of power while performing official duties, lack of responsibility causing serious consequences, and violating banking regulations.

The trial began on March 5 and will go on until April end.

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