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Vietnamese tycoon gets death sentence in US$12 billion fraud case
Published on: Thursday, April 11, 2024
By: Reuters
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Vietnamese tycoon gets death sentence in US$12 billion fraud case
Lan during her trial in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. - AP
HANOI:  A court in Vietnam handed the death sentence on Thursday to real estate tycoon Truong My Lan for her role in a 304-trillion-dong ($12.5-billion) financial fraud, the country's biggest on record, state media said.

Her trial, begun on March 5 and ending earlier than planned, was one dramatic result of a campaign against corruption that the leader of the ruling Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, has pledged for years to stamp out.

Lan, the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and violations of banking rules at the end of a trial in the business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, state media said.

"We will keep fighting to see what we can do," a family member told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. Before the verdict he had said Lan would appeal against the sentence.

Lan's lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

It was not immediately clear how Lan had pleaded, though state media has quoted prosecutors as saying she not pleaded guilty.

The Thanh Nien newspaper said 84 defendants in the case received sentences ranging from probation for three years to life imprisonment.

Lan and her accomplices were accused of siphoning off more than 304 trillion dong from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), which she effectively controlled through dozens of proxies, according to investigators.

From early 2018 through October 2022, when the state bailed out SCB after a run on its deposits, Lan appropriated large sums by arranging unlawful loans to shell companies, investigators said.

Vietnam's graft crackdown, dubbed "Blazing Furnace", has seen hundreds of senior state officials and high-profile business executives prosecuted or forced to step down.

After one series of big corporate arrests in 2022, Vietnamese stocks suffered a wipeout, opens new tab of $40 billion, rattling investor confidence at a delicate moment for the fast-growing economy.

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