One of the richest women in the country has been sentenced to death in Vietnam. She withdrew $12.5 billion from the bank

Juliette Morgan
One of the richest women in the country has been sentenced to death in Vietnam. She withdrew $12.5 billion from the bank

In Ho Chi Minh City, a court sentenced one of the richest women in Vietnam, 67-year-old Truong My Lan, to death. She was accused of fraud, which affected at least 42 thousand people.

Truong My Lan is the head of a large real estate company Van Thinh Phat and one of the few women in Vietnam against whom the death penalty is planned. She was found guilty of fraud: according to investigators, she illegally received about $12.5 billion from Saigon Commercial Bank, in which she actually owned 90% of the shares. At the same time, the total damage is estimated even higher - at $27 billion: this is exactly how much the court ordered her to return.

Truong Mi Lan herself did not admit her guilt and blamed her subordinates for what happened; now she plans to appeal the verdict. It is reported that this case was a blow not only to ordinary citizens who invested their funds in this bank, but also to foreign investors and the country's economy as a whole.

Ten prosecutors took part in the trial, 200 lawyers were hired, and 2,700 people testified; the prosecution materials filled 104 boxes and weighed a total of six tons. Truong My Lan did not appear in court alone: ​​85 other people are awaiting sentencing with her, including her husband, wealthy Hong Kong businessman Eric Chu, as well as a senior inspector at the State Bank of Vietnam, who received $5.2 million from the woman for keeping silent about the fraud. This is the largest bribe in the history of the country.

Police believe all Saigon Commercial Bank security holders were victims of fraud and were unable to withdraw their money or receive interest or payments. In total, about 42 thousand people were affected.

The prosecutor's office notes that since 2019, Truong My Lan, with the help of a driver, took about $4 billion from the bank over three years to store it in the basement. According to the most conservative estimates, the weight of such capital is at least two tons.

All defendants except Truong My Lan face either long prison sentences of up to 15 years or life imprisonment. But they all admitted guilt and repented, some even returned the money. Vietnamese media note that the death penalty will also be used as a threat - supposedly this could force her to return at least part of the money and reduce the damage from her actions.

Truong My Lan was born into a Chinese-Vietnamese family in Ho Chi Minh City. She started out trading at the market and selling cosmetics with her mother. However, in 1986, the Vietnamese government began introducing economic reforms that allowed people to own private property. So Truong My Lan began to buy land and real estate.

By the 1990s, she owned several hotels and restaurants, and by 2011 she had become one of the most influential women in Ho Chi Minh City, which allowed her to organize the merger of three small banks experiencing financial difficulties, thus forming the larger Saigon Commercial Bank. The Truong My Lan family - husband and niece - were also involved in the fraudulent scheme and received 9 and 17 years in prison.

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