HCMC shuts down 20 Apax Leaders centers, has 19 more in its sights

By Le Nguyen   April 9, 2024 | 10:55 pm PT
HCMC shuts down 20 Apax Leaders centers, has 19 more in its sights
An Apax Leaders English center in HCMC's Phu Nhuan District, March 26, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Twenty Apax Leaders English language centers in HCMC have been shut down and 19 others are expected to follow suit with the arrest of owner "shark" Thuy.

The city Department of Education and Training said Tuesday it closed the 20 centers late last month, and is continuing to assess the school for violations of organizational and operational regulations and 19 more centers are in its sights.

These centers have not been operating for years due to financial trouble.

Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, 41, known as "Shark" Thuy after his appearance as an investor in "Shark Tank Vietnam" in 2018 and 2019, was arrested for alleged fraud and "appropriation of assets" on March 25.

He is the chairman of Egroup, the owner of Apax Leaders.

The department is encouraging other foreign language centers to accept students from Apax Leaders at discounted tuition fees.

Parents and students who have a dispute with Apax, for instance about the tuition fee refund, should contact competent authorities for resolution, it said.

Apax has said it will relocate and reopen its two centers in Districts 6 and Phu Nhuan in June, but the department is considering shutting them too.

The police have received hundreds of complaints from parents about Apax Leaders "appropriating tuition fees."

Apax, licensed in 2016, used to have 120 centers nationwide with some 120,000 students, according to its website.

In 2020 and 2021 it closed many of them but failed to refund tuition fees to many students. The department said in a report earlier this month that Apax owes nearly VND94 billion (US$3.81 million) in HCMC alone.

The school also owes VND11.5 billion in salaries to teachers, including many foreigners, and staff and VND9 billion in rents.

Data from the Vietnam Social Insurance and the city Tax Department shows Apax Leaders owed over VND32 billion in social insurance premiums for employees and VND15 billion in taxes as of last year.

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