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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Fraud Death Sentence

Real estate tycoon Truong My Lan was sentenced to death yesterday for siphoning $12.5B from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank. It is the largest fraud case in Vietnam’s history and comes amid a government-led crackdown on corruption.

Lan is the 68-year-old chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, a real estate firm tied to high-end properties (see list). From 2011 to 2022, Lan used shell companies and proxies to gain control of over 90% of SCB. She then secured loan approvals to ghost companies, tapping SCB for cash and stealing the equivalent of over 3% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product. Her loans accounted for 93% of SCB’s total lending. Lan and co-conspirators were also convicted of bribing officials $5.2M to overlook violations.

The trial comes as Vietnam’s Communist Party engages in “blazing furnace,” a campaign to crack down on corruption amid its effort to attract foreign investment. Vietnam allows for the death penalty for violent and white-collar crimes and is believed to trail China and Iran as the world’s third-biggest executioner.

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