Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan denies owning 91.5% stake in SCB

By Hai Duyen, Quoc Thang   March 11, 2024 | 05:00 am PT
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan denies owning 91.5% stake in SCB
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on March 11, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan has rejected claims that she held a majority stake in and controlled Saigon Commercial Bank.

Lan, who was questioned at her trial at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City Monday morning for allegedly stealing from the lender over the course of a decade, told the judges the accusation by the prosecution was incorrect.

She said she owned less than 5% and the remaining stakes were held by her two daughters (5% each) and friends in Vietnam (30%) and overseas (30%).

She explained that when some officials at the State Bank of Vietnam asked her to help merge SCB with two other banks to restructure them, she had to persuade her friends to "save" the bank from bankruptcy by purchasing shares.

Her friends then asked other people to own the shares and she does not know who they are, she said.

"It is painful to be accused of controlling SCB," she added.

Presiding judge Pham Luong Toan pointed out to her that all the Vietnamese shareholders said they held the shares on her behalf, and the court would find out if foreign shareholders make the same claim.

At the two-month-long trial Lan is being tried for bribery, violating bank regulations and embezzlement for allegedly misappropriating VND304 trillion ($12.31 billion) from SCB.

She used the money to fund Van Thinh Phat’s operations.

She owned 91.5% of the bank’s shares in various people’s names.

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

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

The 85 others on trial along with her are charged with embezzlement, bribery, abuse of power while performing official duties, dereliction of duty causing serious consequences, and violating banking regulations.

Of them, 45 are SCB executives, 15 are State Bank of Vietnam officials, three are from the Government Inspectorate, and one is a former official at the State Audit Office.

The trial began at the People’s Court of HCMC March 5 and is scheduled to go on until April 29.

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