Court adjourns trial in $12M dispute between businessman, supermodel ex-wife

By Hai Duyen   August 17, 2023 | 09:21 pm PT
A HCMC court adjourned the lawsuit filed by Vietnamese-American businessman Nguyen Duc An against his supermodel ex-wife Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy after “relevant parties” failed to turn up Friday morning.
An and Thuy. Photo obtained by VnExpress

An and Thuy. Photo obtained by VnExpress

Thuy’s lawyer requested the HCMC’s People Court for an adjournment saying "several lawyers and people with interest and obligations related to the case were not present."

The judge accepted the request, and said a fresh date for the hearing would be announced later.

An, 61, has sued Thuy, 43, a famous former model and actress dubbed the "Marilyn Monroe of Vietnam," to get back assets worth VND288 billion (US$12 million) from her.

The two married in 2006 and divorced in 2008.

In 2010, An filed the suit, claiming she had failed to return properties he had bought with "money he earned before marriage" including stocks, cars and dozens of apartments, villas and lands in HCMC and the coastal town of Phan Thiet.

As a foreigner he "had to register the properties in Thuy’s name."

The Superior Court of California in his native U.S. had ruled that Thuy had to return the properties to him as they "were purchased with his money [and not related to Thuy]," he had submitted to the HCMC court.

He said his children would be "entitled to the properties" if Thuy returned them.

But Thuy had said in a 2014 interview with VnExpress that she and An did not sign a prenuptial agreement on properties acquired during their marriage, and so they belonged to both of them.

It was announced earlier this month that the HCMC People Court would finally hear the case after 13 years after "obtaining documents related to the properties in dispute."

An then sent a letter to the court asking to make some changes to the list of assets he requested Thuy to return.

He wanted to remove 13 of the 39 assets in a list he had submitted, including five villas in the coastal city of Phan Thiet, seven automobiles and a motorbike, citing that Thuy had sold these assets and "it can take the court more time to verify" as his reason.

But he asked Thuy to return an additional VND67.8 billion she had earned over the years by "renting out nine of his luxury HCMC District 1 apartments."

He has also added VND422 million and US$447,000 that are in three bank accounts he had told Thuy to open in her name.

He also rejected her demand that all properties acquired after their marriage should be divide equally between them, calling it "groundless."

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