May 26, 2024

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Vietnam: Billionaire Truong My Lan sentenced to death

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VietnamBillionaire Truong My Lan was sentenced to death

Truong My Lan is said to be responsible for the largest financial scandal in Vietnam's history. The 67-year-old billionaire was sentenced to death for this.

  • Real estate magnate Truong My Lan sentenced to death in Vietnam.

  • Van Dinh Pot, head of the real estate company, is said to be liable for damages equivalent to around 25 billion francs.

  • The Vietnamese government has stepped up its fight against corruption, making the use of the death penalty unusual for financial crimes.

In Vietnam, a jury sentenced real estate magnate and billionaire Truong My Lan, 67, to death on Thursday in the biggest financial scandal in the country's history. According to the public prosecutor's office, the head of the real estate company, Van Dinh Pot, is liable for damages equivalent to about 25 billion francs. “The defendant's actions undermined confidence in the leadership of the Party and the State,” the ruling said in Ho Chi Minh City.

Lan is guilty of corruption, fraud and banking law violations. 42,000 people are said to have been affected from 2012 to 2022 with the help of financial authorities. The jury found evidence that he embezzled the equivalent of 11.5 billion francs through transactions with the Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB), 90 percent of which belonged to his real estate group. Overall, the state prosecutor's office reported damages of 25 billion francs. This corresponds to six percent of Vietnam's GDP.

She denies the allegations

The convicted woman denies the allegations and blames the subordinates. According to Vietnamese media, Lan told the court that he was thinking about suicide. “I was foolish enough to get involved in banking, a tough business that I didn't know much about,” said the firm's boss.

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Lan was arrested in October. During the five-week trial, 85 defendants, including central bank officials, former government members and SCB management staff, were with him. Among other things, five million francs worth of bribes allegedly changed hands, hidden in Styrofoam containers. The state attorney's office seized more than 1,000 properties in Lance.

Vietnam declares war on corruption

According to the police, since Lan's arrest the victims have not been able to withdraw money from their SCB accounts and have not received interest or repayments. Hundreds of people protested in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City following the arrest. Such public demonstrations are rare in Vietnam.

The communist-ruled country's government has been cracking down on corruption for years. Since 2021, 1,700 cases have been initiated against more than 4,400 people, including prominent former businessmen and ministers.

However, the death penalty for financial crimes is unusual. It is unclear how many death sentences are actually carried out in the country. Amnesty International estimates there are a few dozen each year.

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(AFP/Work)