What did the Vietnamese president know who was sentenced to death in a $12.5 billion fraud case?

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A Vietnamese real estate magnate Sentenced to death A shocking development in the Southeast Asian country's intensifying anti-corruption movement on Thursday in the country's biggest financial fraud case.

Truong My Lan, a high-profile businessman who headed a sprawling conglomerate that develops luxury apartments, hotels, offices and shopping malls, was arrested in 2022. The 67-year-old was formally charged. A $12.5 billion fraud –- Nearly 3% of the country's GDP by 2022.

The death penalty is not uncommon in Vietnam, but it is rare in financial crime cases and for someone well-known.

Key details of the case can be seen here:

Who Truong My Lan?

Lan was born in 1956 and started selling cosmetics with her mother, a Chinese businesswoman, in an ancient market in Ho Chi Minh City, according to state media Tien Phong.

He and his family founded Van Dinh Pot in 1992, when Vietnam was abandoning its state-run economy in favor of a market-based economy open to foreigners. Over the years VTP has grown into one of the richest real estate companies in Vietnam.

Today the company is attached to some of Ho Chi Minh's most prestigious downtown properties, including the glittering 39-story Times Square Saigon, the five-star Windsor Plaza Hotel, the 37-story Capital Place office building and the five-star Sherwood Residence Hotel. Lan lived until his arrest.

Lan met her husband, Hong Kong investor Eric Chu Nap-kee, in 1992. They have two daughters.

What was she accused of?

Lan was involved in a 2011 merger of the stricken Saigon Joint Commercial Bank, or SCP, with two other lenders in a scheme coordinated by Vietnam's central bank.

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According to government documents, he is accused of using the bank as his cash cow, illegally controlling it from 2012 to 2022, and using thousands of “ghost companies” in Vietnam and abroad to make loans to himself and his associates.

State media VN Express reported on Thursday that the loans resulted in losses of $27 billion.

He was charged with bribing government officials — including a former federal official who was sentenced to life in prison for accepting $5.2 million in bribes — and violating banking regulations, government documents said.

The court sentenced her to death, saying her actions “not only violate the property management rights of individuals, but also put SCB under special control and undermine people's confidence in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and the state.”

Why is this happening now?

Lan's arrest in October 2022 is one of the most high-profile ongoing cases Anti-corruption movement in Vietnam It has increased since 2022.

Weeks after her trial started In early March, Former President Vo Van Tuong resigned After being caught up in the “burning furnace” campaign that was the symbol of the country's most powerful politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong.

While Lan's arrest and the scale of the scandal shocked the nation, the case also raised questions about whether other banks or businesses had made similar mistakes. Downgrades Vietnam's economic outlook And spooking foreign investors.

It comes as Vietnam tries to argue its case as a better home for businesses trying to move away from neighboring China.

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