Tan Hiep Phat chairman's victim accused of swindling $3.34M

By Hai Duyen   December 10, 2023 | 04:00 am PT
Tan Hiep Phat chairman's victim accused of swindling $3.34M
Nguyen Van Chung (R) at the time of being arrested by police in HCMC. Photo by HCMC police
A man who was swindled by Tran Qui Thanh, chairman of Vietnam's largest beverage producer, will stand trial on charges of selling fake land.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City will hear the case of Nguyen Van Chung, 37, who is charged with fraudulent appropriation of property, on Tuesday.

According to an investigation, Chung was the CEO of DCB Design Construction Co., Ltd based in HCMC. The company’s main business is offering architectural and technical consulting for construction projects.

In March 2018, Chung deposited to buy land in Binh Tan District. However, the land he wanted to buy was agricultural land that already belonged to another plan and therefore, neither Chung nor the seller had any permission to separate the land into small plots.

Therefore, the seller canceled the deposit contract with Chung.

However, Chung still set up several property projects and used the legal entity of his company to sign contracts to sell the land plots to 27 customers and pocket VND41.8 billion (US$1.7 million).

Using the same move, he made deposits to buy more land plots in the city knowing that they were designated for agriculture development or traffic infrastructure projects, and that the land use purpose could not be changed.

In all, he tricked 45 customers and swindled VND81 billion ($3.34 million). Of the sum, he has returned only VND4 billion.

Chung himself is one of the victims in the ongoing case of Thanh, chairman of beverage giant Tan Hiep Phat, and his daughter.

Thanh, 70, and daughter Tran Uyen Phuong, 42, were arrested in April on charges of illegally appropriating property.

According to the investigation office, the detentions came after reports from residents in HCMC and its neighbor Dong Nai Province accused Thanh, Phuong and several other individuals of acts of fraud and "abuse of trust to acquire property," as well as tax evasion. Most of the allegations are related to high-value real estate projects in the two localities.

Police said in 2019, Chung needed money and borrowed from Thanh VND35 billion with an interest rate of 3% per month. As agreed by the two sides, Chung must transfer to Thanh 29 plots of land worth VND48 billion in Binh Tan District as a mortgage.

In March that year, when Chung offered to pay the principal amount of VND35 billion, Thanh requested him to pay an extra VND14 billion without any proper reason.

As Chung could not cover the extra amount, Thanh and his daughter appropriated his 29 plots of land.

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