Vietnam’s billionaire Truong My Lan sentenced to death in $12.5 billion fraud case

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HANOI: Property tycoon Truong My Lan was sentenced to death by a court in Vietnam on Thursday over her role in a $12.5 billion financial fraud case, the country’s largest on record, according to Al Jazeera.

Between 2012 and 2022, the 67-year-old Truong illicitly managed the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank, siphoning off funds through thousands of fictitious firms and bribing government officials.

The prosecutors claimed to have taken over 1,000 of her assets, and the suspected asset appropriation amount was equal to almost 3 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP in 2022. Lan had refuted the accusations made against her, placing the blame on her subordinates. She acknowledged having suicidal thoughts last week in her closing statements to the court, according to Al Jazeera.

She said, “In my desperation, I thought of death”, according to state media. “I am furious that I dared to enter this extremely competitive industry — the banking sector — which I have little knowledge of”, she said.

Citing state media, Al Jazeera reported that Truong My Lan, chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and violations of banking rules at the end of a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.

The arrest of Lan, in 2022 last year, was among the most high-profile arrests in an ongoing anticorruption drive that started in 2016, and has picked up pace since 2022.

Hundreds of officials have been penalised or imprisoned as a result of the so-called Blazing Furnace campaign, which has affected the highest levels of Vietnamese politics, including the resignations of two Presidents and two Prime Ministers. (ANI)

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