Female Vietnamese billionaire sentenced to death for $44bn fraud

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The convict sandwiched by security operatives after her conviction in the country’s capital, Ho Chi Minh, on Thursday.

A Vietnamese Court has sentenced to death a female billionaire in the country, Truong My Lan, for her involvement in the country’s biggest financial fraud case of 44 billion dollars.

The convict was found guilty on Thursday of engaging in fraudulent loan deals through Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) for over a decade.

The financial fraud is said to be equivalent to nearly 3 per cent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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Reports indicate that $27 billion of the amount has been embezzled, and unrecoverable.

Thursday’s Court verdict follows a five-week trial, in which the convict and 85 others were variously sentenced in the country’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City.

The list includes former central bankers, ex-government officials, and previous SCB executives.

Lan’s husband is also a defendant in the case.

The defendants were charged with bribery, abuse of power, appropriation, and violations of Vietnam’s banking law.

Prosecutors had wanted Lan to face the death penalty.

Earlier, Lan’s family member, speaking to Reuters prior to the verdict had said that she would contest the death penalty if issued.

Periscope International reports that Vietnam has undergone a national corruption crackdown in which around 4,400 people have been indicted in a wave of corruption crackdown.

“In my desperation, I thought of death,” Lan had said in court last week.

She denied being a part of the money embezzlement.

“I am so angry that I was stupid enough to get involved in this very fierce business environment.

“The banking sector which I have little knowledge of,” she insisted.

There have been multiple protests since Lan’s arrest.

According to police, there are over 42,000 victims of the fraud.

Since Lan’s arrest, the fraud victims have not received interest or principal payments and are unable to withdraw their money.

In 2022, the projected allocations for Lan’s evaluations were equal to around 3% of Vietnam’s GDP.

More than a thousand of Lan’s possessions were taken by the prosecution.

According to the authorities, $5.2 million was also given as bribe (largest recorded in Vietnam) to SCB bankers to help cover up the fraud.

According to state media, Do Thi Nhan, the former chief executive of the State Bank of Vietnam’s inspection team and the person who was offered the bribe, said that she was given the cash in Styrofoam boxes.

She, however, disclosed that when she realised they were filled with cash, she refused the ‘bribe’.
With agency reports 

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