Vietnamese developer sentenced to death for $12B fraud

Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Group, will appeal her sentence

Vietnamese Developer Sentenced to Death in $12B Fraud Case

A photo illustration of Vietnamese developer Truong My Lan (Getty)

Vietnamese developer Truong My Lan was sentenced to death for her role in a wide-ranging, multi-billion dollar financial fraud. 

Lan’s fraud amounted to $20 billion in financial damages, roughly 5 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, according to the New York Times. Lan, who founded and chaired Van Thinh Phat Group, was arrested in 2022 on charges of bribery, violating banking regulations and embezzling more than $12 billion from Saigon Commercial Bank, one of the country’s largest banks. 

Prosecutors found that Lan used her majority ownership stake in Saigon Commercial to pressure officials into granting her massive withdrawals from the bank between 2018 and 2022, pushing it into a liquidity crisis. A panel of judges handed down the death penalty ruling along with 20 years for each of her other charges. 

Lan has denied any wrongdoing. She will appeal her sentence, the Washington Post reported. 

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An additional 85 people have been charged alongside Lan. Her husband, Eric Chu Nap-kee, received a nine-year prison sentence. And her niece, Truong Hue Van, was sentenced to 17 years. 

Lan founded Van Thinh Phat Group in 1992, following Vietnam’s “Doi Moi”, an economic reform period that began in 1986 and sought to open up the country more to the global economy, the Times reported. Today, Van Thinh Phat Group’s portfolio includes luxury apartments and the Windsor Plaza Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Lan’s sentence follows a years-long push by Vietnam’s Communist Party to quash corruption. 

–– Kate Hinsche