Vietnamese Businesswoman Sentenced to Death in $12 Billion Banking Scam

Wealthy Vietnamese businesswoman sentenced to death in $27B fraud case, highlighting government's crackdown on corruption among elite.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Vietnamese Businesswoman Sentenced to Death  in $12 Billion Banking Scam

Vietnamese Businesswoman Sentenced to Death in $12 Billion Banking Scam

Truong My Lan, a wealthy Vietnamese businesswoman, has been sentenced to death in a multi-billion dollar fraud case amid a communist crackdown on corruption in Vietnam. Lan, the chairwoman of the Van Thinh Phat Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and violations of banking rules.

The case against Lan is part of a broader anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party of Vietnam, which has targeted high-profile business figures and officials. Lan's death sentence is one of the harshest punishments handed down in the crackdown, reflecting the government's efforts to demonstrate its commitment to tackling graft at the highest levels of the Vietnamese economy and society.

Why this matters: The sentencing of Truong My Lan highlights the Vietnamese government's intensifying efforts to combat corruption and financial crimes, even among the country's wealthy and powerful elite. The case has shocked the nation and raised questions about the extent of fraudulent practices in Vietnam's banking sector.

Lan was accused of illegally controlling the Saigon Joint Commercial Bank (SCB) and allowing loans that resulted in losses of $27 billion, equivalent to 6% of Vietnam's 2023 GDP. She was also found to have paid bribes to government officials. The total damages caused by the scam amounted to $27 billion, with around 42,000 victims who had invested with SCB facing financial hardship as a result.

In response to the scandal, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has pumped in 24 billion in special loans to support SCB, which is the largest private bank in the country. The SBV is working on a roadmap to restructure SCB and help it stabilize its operations and return to normal.

Lan's husband, Hong Kong billionaire Eric Chu Nap Kee, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for his involvement, while 85 others received sentences ranging from 3 years suspended to life imprisonment. The court also sentenced three others, including a central bank supervisor, to life imprisonment.

The death sentence for Lan is an unusually severe punishment, as Vietnam is already a leading executioner globally. "The defendants' behavior was extremely serious, infringing on the management of state assets and causing public grievances, which requires strict punishment," the court said in its verdict.

Key Takeaways

  • Vietnamese businesswoman Truong My Lan sentenced to death for $27B fraud
  • Lan found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and banking rule violations
  • Part of Vietnam's anti-corruption crackdown targeting elite business figures
  • Lan's scam caused losses of 6% of Vietnam's 2023 GDP, affecting 42,000 victims
  • Vietnam's central bank provided $24B in loans to support troubled bank SCB