Court delays businessman's $12M-lawsuit against supermodel ex-wife

By Nguyen Thao   September 20, 2023 | 06:26 am PT
A HCMC court on Wednesday adjourned the lawsuit filed by businessman Nguyen Duc An against his supermodel ex-wife Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy for “more time to collect and verify evidence.”
Supermodel Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy at the court. Photo by Thien An

Supermodel Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy at the court. Photo by Thien An

Prior to the announcement, a prosecutor from the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy questioned An and Thuy on matters relating to the VND288 billion ($12 million) worth of assets in dispute.

An claimed in his suit that he was the legal owner of nine apartments in HCMC’s District 1, which were registered under Thuy’s name, and which she had rented out.

He said the assets were bought with the $3 million he sent Thuy from the U.S. through an agency, supporting his argument that the assets were "bought with his own money [and not related to Thuy]."

However, he could only provide the court proof of having sent Thuy VND45 billion in dong and $700,000 in dollars.

Responding to An’s claims, Thuy admitted receiving VND45 billion in dong and $700,000 in dollars from An. She argued, however, that the money was their mutual property since it was generated after the two’s marriage.

She also said the mentioned figures were the only amount of money she received from An.

Thuy additionally argued that because she bought the properties while her and An were married, they belonged to both spouses and should thus be equally divided between her and An.

She also asked the court to consider her contribution in renovating the apartments and renting them out.

Thuy petitioned the court to allow her to own the apartments and pay An 50% of their values in cash.

The businessman additionally provided the court with proof that Thuy had made an estimated VND100 billion in profit by renting the apartments, and thus, requested Thuy to return him this amount of money.

Responding to this, Thuy said she could not clearly remember all the details because so many years had passed. She argued that documents provided by An were copies, and she requested that An provide the original documents so that the court could verify them.

To Thuy’s response, An replied that he would present the original versions of the documents at a later date.

Replying to the prosecutor’s question about how he wanted to treat the assets once the judge reached their decision, An said if the judge and the trial panel approved of his requests, his and Thuy’s two daughters would be "entitled to the properties."

The judge then adjourned the trial on the expectation it would be heard again on October 16.

The first hearing of the case on August 18 was also adjourned when "relevant parties" failed to present themselves.

An, a 61-year-old American-Vietnamese businessman, married Thuy, 43, a model and actress dubbed "the Marilyn Monroe of Vietnam," in 2006 after the couple had only known each other a week. They divorced in 2008.

An filed a suit in the HCMC People's Court in 2010, claiming Thuy had not returned 39 Vietnam-based assets - including several real estate properties, automobiles, and stocks - he had bought with "money he earned before marriage."

The suit stated that as a foreigner, he "had to register the properties in Thuy's name."

The Superior Court of California had ruled when the two divorced that Thuy had to return the properties to him as they "were purchased with his money [and not related to Thuy]," according to him.

The HCMC People’s Court announced in August that it would finally hold a trial for the case after 13 years of "obtaining documents related to the properties in dispute."

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