NewsVietnamese business tycoon sentenced to death in $12 billion fraud case

Vietnamese business tycoon sentenced to death in $12 billion fraud case

Truong My Lan during one of the court sessions, March 2024
Truong My Lan during one of the court sessions, March 2024
Images source: © Getty Images | Bloomberg

10:10 AM EDT, April 11, 2024

Truong My Lan, the president of the Vietnamese development firm Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was sentenced to death on Thursday. A Vietnamese court found her guilty of fraud involving an amount equivalent to 12 billion dollars. This incident marks the largest financial scandal in the nation's history.

Lan was convicted of bribery, violating banking regulations, and embezzling 304 trillion dongs, approximately 12 billion dollars, amounting to nearly 3 percent of Vietnam's GDP in 2022.

Investigators found that through various entities, she gained control over Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank, the country's largest bank by asset value.

The 68-year-old Lan's conviction was seen as a significant blow to public trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and the state, according to the jury cited by state media during the trial held in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the charges, Truong My Lan denied wrongdoing, claiming the irregularities were the fault of her subordinates. A family member communicated to Reuters before the verdict was announced that Lan planned to appeal the death sentence.

This trial is part of an extensive anti-corruption drive led by Nguyen Phu Trong, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The campaign has resulted in over 4,500 high-ranking officials being arrested or stepping down, including the former president Vo Van Thuong.

The deployment of the death penalty in Vietnam is frequent in drug-related offences but is rare for economic crimes.

Surpassing a hundred death sentences in a year

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Vietnam sentenced more than 100 individuals to death in 2022. Since 2013, the country has utilized lethal injection to carry out death sentences, shifting from the former method of execution by firing squad.

Related content