Prosecutors seek death sentence for mastermind of Vietnam’s largest financial scam

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 2:59 AM

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese prosecutors on Tuesday called for a death sentence for Truong My Lan, the mastermind of the country’s largest financial fraud case on record, state media reported.

Lan, the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, is facing a trial in economic hub Ho Chi Minh City on accusations of leading a scam of more than $12 billion, or around 3% of the country’s gross domestic product.

“Lan didn’t plead guilty and didn’t show remorse,” Thanh Nien newspaper cited the prosecutors as saying.

“The consequences are extremely serious and irreparable, and therefore, there must be a strict punishment for Truong My Lan and remove her from the society,” the prosecutors said.

Lan and her accomplices are accused of siphoning off 304 trillion dong ($12.46 billion) from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), which Lan effectively controlled through dozens of proxies, according to investigators.

From early 2018 through October 2022, when SCB was bailed out by the state after a run on its deposits, Lan appropriated large sums by arranging unlawful loans to shell companies, according to public investigators.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)