Saturday , July 13 2024

HCM City wants property tycoon trial expedited to assuage public ire

Trương Mỹ Lan, chairwoman of property company Vạn Thịnh Phát. — Photo courtesy of the Security Public Ministry

HCM CITY — The HCM City government has instructed the police to speed up their investigation into the alleged frauds by the chairwoman of property company Vạn Thịnh Phát which resulted in losses of trillions of đồng to a local bank.

Speaking at a meeting last week, Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city Party Committee, said it was important to also complete the trial of Trương Mỹ Lan this year since the case had caused public anger.

Lan was arrested in October 2022 along with three others, including her company’s CEO, on charges of misappropriating trillions of đồng.

Her arrest caused a run on the Saigon Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SCB) because of its close links with her company.

According to the police, Lan did not hold any position at SCB but owned a 91.5 per cent stake in it, and between 2012 and 2022 received over 2,500 loans worth over VNĐ1 quadrillion (around $44 billion) from it, or 93 per cent of all the loans it gave, using a network of over 1,000 companies affiliated to Vạn Thịnh Phát.

She allegedly paid bribes to various officials to conceal the bank’s precarious financial situation, including $5.2 million to the head of the central bank’s department of inspection and supervision, Đỗ Thị Nhàn.

Also on trial will be 85 others, including senior executives at SCB, officials at the central bank and Government Inspectorate, and a State Audit official.

Vạn Thịnh Phát operates in commerce, hospitality and real estate, and owns major real estate in prime locations in the city.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has castigated the Ministry of Finance, the State Securities Commission and the central bank for their lack of oversight.

Lan’s trial is the highest-profile case since the Government began a crackdown on corruption in 2021. — VNS

Formerly known as Saigon One Tower, the IFC One Saigon was acquired in 2021 by Viva Land, a subsidiary of Vạn Thịnh Phát Group. Construction resumed briefly after years but has stalled again following the arrest of Trương Mỹ Lan, chairwoman of property company Vạn Thịnh Phát, in October 2022. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp

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