Vietnamese consultant charged with defrauding Australian investor of $3.2M

By Kien Tuong   April 7, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
Vietnamese consultant charged with defrauding Australian investor of $3.2M
Truong Thi Kim Soan speaks in a meeting with partners. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Toan
An investment consultant will be tried on April 16 for allegedly stealing $3.2 million from an Australian businessman after advising him to purchase a titan mine.

Truong Thi Kim Soan, 50, in April 2013 approached Australian businessman John Koon in Ho Chi Minh City and advised him to buy a 360-hectare Sao Mai titan mine in Binh Thuan Province, central Vietnam, according to prosecutors.

She told Koon to let her buy the mine on his behalf to reduce the burden of administrative procedures since she was a Vietnamese.

She added that prices would be more affordable if she was the only one working directly with the seller, Sao Mai Company.

But at the time Sao Mai did not have permits to operate the mine and therefore Soan asked Koon for money so she can acquire operation permits.

After receiving money from Koon to buy the mine, Soan established a new company Thien Binh and used it to buy the mine. She owned 95% of Thien Binh and her husband 5%.

Koon therefore did not own any stake in the mine and allegedly lost $3.2 million to Soan in the deal.

In September 2020 Koon filed a complaint to the police accusing Soan of stealing his money. In August 2021 she was arrested.

But Soan’s lawyer claimed that the $3.2 million she received from Koon was for many projects that they partnered together including the purchase of Son Mai mine.

There were emails and receipts to confirm this, the lawyer claimed.

go to top