Van Thinh Phat chairwoman seeks return of HCMC downtown building to daughter

By Hai Duyen   March 21, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman seeks return of HCMC downtown building to daughter
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on March 20, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan has requested the court to exclude a building on Nguyen Hue Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City from her compensation list, saying it belongs to her daughter.

The building is currently leased by Saigon Commercial Bank for its headquarters.

Defending herself in Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court Wednesday afternoon, 68-year-old Lan expressed her distress over accusations of denying her crimes and blaming subordinates.

"During the investigation I have said that I felt responsible for the crime. My brothers and sisters at SCB unknowingly committed the crime during the restructuring of the bank and I am also responsible."

Lan said she still tried to keep business as usual at SCB even when she was arrested. She added that a few days before the arrest she was negotiating with foreign investors for them to pour $1 billion into SCB.

"I hope that the judges understand my struggle – even in jail I was still trying to resolve SCB issues."

She asked the court to carefully reconsider allegations made against her by prosecutors. Lan is charged with embezzlement, violating bank regulations, and bribery.

The failure of restructuring SCB came about not because she failed but because of her arrest, she said.

Lan denied the allegations of her former deputy SCB CEO Tran Thi My Dung, who claimed that in the two years before the arrest the bank had disbursed VND260 trillion to Lan.

"How can there be so much money to give me? In my meetings with Dung at Times Square we only discussed how to collect debts, [we did not discuss] giving loans to Van Thinh Phat."

Lan said that among the assets that have been confiscated is VND300 billion ($12.11 million) in cash that her mother left behind to the family. Lan wants this money be given to her niece Truong Hue Van, who is also on trial, so she can compensate for losses caused.

She also requested that a building on 19 Nguyen Hue Road, in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, be given back to her daughter, saying that this was her mother’s gift to her daughter.

SCB has been renting the building, but after over a year the bank has not paid rent. It has not yet relinquished the building either.

Lan had earlier proposed that an old villa in District 3 be returned to the family so they can preserve it as a Vietnamese relic.

The prosecutors had earlier said that Lan was the mastermind behind a scheme to steal from SCB and "caused grave consequences."

But she was "not sincere" during the investigation and blamed her subordinates, they added.

On March 19 the prosecutors proposed a death sentence for Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan for committing severe crime over a long period and causing irrevocable consequences.

From 2012 to 2022, Lan's group has more than 2,500 loans at SCB with a total disbursement of more than VND1 quadrillion ($44 billion), which accounts for 93% of the total credit that the bank has issued.

She is accused of causing a loss of VND498 trillion to the bank after the value of collaterals has been deducted.

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