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Friday May 24, 2024

Vietnam tycoon sentenced to death in $12.5 billion fraud case

Vietnam imposes the death penalty mostly over violent offenses but also for economic crimes

By Reuters
April 13, 2024
Vietnamese property tycoon Truong My Lan (front row 3nd L) looks on at a court in Ho Chi Minh City on April 11, 2024. — AFP/File
Vietnamese property tycoon Truong My Lan (front row 3nd L) looks on at a court in Ho Chi Minh City on April 11, 2024. — AFP/File

HANOI: A court in Vietnam handed the death sentence on Thursday to real estate tycoon Truong My Lan for her role in a 304-trillion-dong ($12.5-billion) financial fraud, the country’s biggest on record, state media said.

Her trial, begun on March 5 and ending earlier than planned, was one dramatic result of a campaign against corruption that the leader of the ruling Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, has pledged for years to stamp out.

Lan, the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and violations of banking rules at the end of a trial in the business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, state media said.

“We will keep fighting to see what we can do,” a family member told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. Before the verdict he had said Lan would appeal against the sentence.

Lan had pleaded not-guilty to the embezzlement and bribery charges, Nguyen Huy Thiep, one of Lan’s lawyers told Reuters.

“Of course she will appeal the verdict,” he added noting she was sentenced to death for the embezzlement charge and to 20 years each for the other two charges of bribery and violations of banking regulations.

Vietnam imposes the death penalty mostly over violent offenses but also for economic crimes. Human rights groups say it has executed hundreds of convicts in recent years, mainly by lethal injection.