Prosecutors demand death  sentence in Vietnam’s biggest fraud trial

They say Van Thinh Phat’s chairwoman didn’t plead guilty or apologize.
By Mike Firn for RFA
2024.03.19
Bangkok, Thailand
Prosecutors demand death  sentence in Vietnam’s biggest fraud trial Truong My Lan arrives at a court in Ho Chi Minh city on March 5, 2024.
STR/AFP

Vietnamese prosecutors are calling for the death sentence for the alleged mastermind of the country’s biggest fraud, state-controlled media reported Tuesday.

Truong My Lan, 68, is the chairwoman of developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group.

Prosecutors say she was behind a US$12.46 billion scam, using sophisticated, well-organized methods over a long period of time. But they say during the trial she showed no remorse and blamed her subordinates.

They recommended Lan receive the death sentence for embezzlement and a combined 38-40 years for bribery and violating banking regulations.

Other defendants face life in prison if convicted of helping her obtain loans for shell companies from Saigon Commercial Bank, leading to a $20 billion loss. 

The accused include Lan’s Hong Kong billionaire husband Eric Chu; 45 SCB executives; 15 State Bank of Vietnam officials; three government inspectors; and a former official at the State Audit Office. Eight defendants are on the run, with international arrest warrants out for them.

The trial is expected to last until early May and see thousands of witnesses take to the stand to testify.

Around 42,000 Saigon Commercial Bank bondholders lost money to the scam.

For 10 years, starting in 2012, Lam and her accomplices are accused of taking out more than 2,500 loans at the bank, 93% of the total credit issued.

Edited by Elaine Chan.

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