Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan deserves 'toughest sentence': court

By Hai Duyen, Quoc Thang   April 10, 2024 | 08:07 pm PT
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan deserves 'toughest sentence': court
Van Thinh Phat chairwoman Truong My Lan seen at the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City on April 11, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Truong My Lan, chairwoman of property developer Van Thinh Phat, deserves the toughest sentence for appropriating assets from Saigon Commercial Bank, judges said on Thursday.

The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City is set to pronounce Lan’s sentence on the day. Earlier, prosecutors had recommended the death sentence for Lan.

Judges agreed with prosecutors’ three charges against Lan: violating banking regulations, embezzlement and bribery.

Although Lan and her lawyers have argued that she did not commit embezzlement as she had no official position at SCB, the judges disagreed with their defense.

The judges said that Lan owned 91.5% of SCB at some point through different people and had the highest authority at the bank. "She was in reality the owner of SCB. She made the final decisions on credit approval and appointing key leaders and paid them well to control them."

The testimonies of other defendants and documents collected during the investigation all pointed out that Lan indirectly owned a large number of shares in the three lenders SCB, De Nhat and Tin Nghia before the latter two were merged into SCB.

She then used SCB as a financial instrument to fund her personal expenses and Van Thinh Phat operations.

Between 2012 and 2017, she directed the approval of 368 loans. After the value of collaterals was deducted, these loans caused a loss of VND64.6 trillion to SCB as of 2022 (when Lan was arrested). Her crime during this period is classified as violating banking regulations.

Between 2018 and 2022, she directed the approval of 916 loans and appropriated VND304 trillion, causing a loss of VND130 trillion. Because Vietnam’s criminal laws started applying embezzlement to non-government individuals in 2018, her crime during this period is classified as embezzlement.

The highest penalty for this crime is death sentence.

To cover the wrongdoing at SCB, Lan ordered her subordinates to bribe auditors of the State Bank of Vietnam.

Vo Tan Hoang Van, SCB CEO, gave in total $5.2 million to Do Thi Nhan, head of the banking inspection department under the central bank.

From 2012 to 2022 Lan and her accomplices obtained 2,500 loans worth more than VND1 quadrillion ($44 billion), accounting for 93% of Saigon Commercial Bank's total lending during the period.

She is accused of causing losses of VND677 trillion to the bank.

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