Appeal trial for $11M fortune split between supermodel Ngoc Thuy, businessman ex-husband postponed

By Hai Duyen   May 10, 2024 | 03:53 pm PT
A court has accepted Vietnamese-American businessman Nguyen Duc An’s request to postpone an appeal trial concerning a VND288 billion (US$11.3 million) dispute with his ex-wife, supermodel Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy.
Supermodel Ngoc Thuy attends a trial over assets in dispute between her and her ex-husband Nguyen Duc An in September 2023. Photo by Thien An

Supermodel Ngoc Thuy attends a trial over assets in dispute between her and her ex-husband Nguyen Duc An in September 2023. Photo by Thien An

The High People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City announced the decision on Friday, when the appeal had been scheduled to begin.

Absent from court, An sent his request for a postponement of the appeal via representative.

In response, Thuy’s lawyer and authorized representative filed a request to expedite the trial, arguing that the case had already dragged on for over 13 years.

They stated that the fallout from the decade of the tumultuous case had "seriously affected her [Thuy’s] legitimate rights and interests."

The battle over the post-divorce asset division between Thuy and An began when An sued Thuy in 2010 for ownership of Vietnam-based assets worth VND288 billion. Alleging she had bought these assets with his money and on his behalf because he could not purchase assets in Vietnam as a foreigner, An said Thuy had not returned the properties to him.

The properties in question include several real estate assets, automobiles, stocks, and cash.

An claimed that these assets were bought with money he "made before their marriage," and thus demanded full ownership of the properties.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court ruled in November last year that since the properties had been bought when An and Thuy were still married, they were "joint assets" and each of the former spouses was entitled to half ownership of the total.

It also rejected An’s claim that Thuy had bought the assets with money he "had made before marriage" and subsequently "transferred to her" so that she could help him buy them, citing lack of proof.

Both An and Thuy then filed appeals, with An saying that the court’s order for him to equally divide the disputed assets with Thuy was "unconvincing" to him.

He said the court did "not take all of the proof into account" and failed to "fully and objectively assess the evidence," which "severely affected his legal rights and benefits."

He thus petitioned the High People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City to hold an appeal to judge the case "objectively" and "based on laws."

Meanwhile, Thuy requested the appeal court change a part of the initial verdict which gave An ownership of an interior design company disputed between the two former spouses.

The court had ordered An to pay Thuy VND43.6 billion, an equivalent of half of the company’s shares, on order to take full control of the asset.

But Thuy insisted that as the business’ current legal representative, she should be entitled to own the company instead of An. Her statement argued that she should thus pay An half of the company shares’ value instead.

She also requested that the appeal court add five more villas in the coastal province of Phan Thiet to the list of her and An’s shared marital assets. And she thus demanded An pay her an additional amount of VND8.7 billion, equivalent to half of those assets’ value.

An, 61, married Thuy, 43, a model and actress, in 2006 after knowing her for just a week. They divorced in 2008.

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