About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Vietnamese Real Estate Queen Truong My Lan Sentenced to Death in $12.5 Billion Fraud Case

Lan's arrest in October 2022 was a high-profile move in an ongoing anti-corruption drive in Vietnam.
Cover Image Source: A Vietnamese Flag | Getty Images | Photo by Nik Wheeler
Cover Image Source: A Vietnamese Flag | Getty Images | Photo by Nik Wheeler

A court in Vietnam on Thursday sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death for her involvement in 304 trillion dong ($12.46 billion) financial fraud. This marks the country's largest-ever financial fraud case, as reported by state media. Lan's conviction comes as the culmination of a dramatic trial that unfolded amidst a sweeping government crackdown on corruption, spearheaded by the ruling Communist Party and its leader, Nguyen Phu Trong.


Lan, the chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, has been found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and violations of banking rules following the conclusion of her trial in Ho Chi Minh City. Her legal team has been granted a 15-day window to appeal the verdict.

The 67-year-old stands accused of exerting illegal control over the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) from 2012 to 2022, and siphoning of funds through numerous fictitious companies while allegedly bribing government officials. Reportedly, the value of her alleged misappropriation amounts to approximately 3% of Vietnam's GDP in 2022.

Authorities have seized over 1,000 properties belonging to her as part of the ongoing investigation, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Lan's journey in business began in 1956, assisting her Chinese mother in selling cosmetics at Ho Chi Minh City's oldest market. Over time, she established the Van Thinh Phat company in 1992, coinciding with Vietnam's transition to a more market-oriented economy. Van Thinh Phat eventually emerged as one of Vietnam's wealthiest real estate firms.

Today, the company boasts connections to some of Ho Chi Minh City's most prestigious downtown properties, including the iconic 39-story Times Square Saigon, the towering Capital Place office building, the luxurious Windsor Plaza Hotel, and the opulent Sherwood Residence hotel, where Truong My Lan resided prior to her arrest.

 Overview of Ho Chi Minh City | Wikimedia | Diego Delso
Image Source: Ho Chi Minh City | Wikimedia | Photo by Diego Delso

Lan has two daughters with her husband, investor Eric Chu Nap-kee whom she met in Hong Kong in 1992.

According to the AP report, accusations against Lan include her alleged involvement in the 2011 merger of the beleaguered Saigon Joint Commercial Bank (SCB) with two other lenders. This merger was reportedly coordinated by Vietnam’s central bank

She stands accused of exploiting the bank as her personal cash cow, illicitly exerting control over it from 2012 to 2022. Allegations suggest that she utilized thousands of fraudulent (ghost) companies both within Vietnam and overseas to secure loans for herself and her associates, as per government documents.

The loans obtained through these deceptive means purportedly led to staggering losses totaling $27 billion, state media VN Express reported. Among the government officials Lan is accused of bribing is a former central official who has been sentenced to life in prison for accepting $5.2 million in bribes and breaching banking regulations. 

Lan has been sentenced to death primarily due to the severity of her actions and their repercussions on both individuals and the state. While the death penalty is relatively rare in Vietnam, the court deemed Lan's offenses to be particularly egregious.

The judgment stated that her actions not only infringed upon individuals' property rights but also plunged the Saigon Joint Commercial Bank (SCB) into a state of special control, undermining public trust in the leadership of the Communist Party and the state.

Despite denying all charges and attributing wrongdoing to her subordinates, Lan expressed despair and even contemplated suicide during her final remarks in court. She will appeal against the sentence, a family member told Reuters.

Besides the death penalty, Lan has been sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment and ordered to compensate the bank with $27 million. This hefty sum is speculated to be an attempt to recover a portion of the immense losses incurred due to her actions.


According to the publication, Lan's arrest in October 2022 marked one of the most high-profile actions in Vietnam's ongoing anti-corruption campaign. This crackdown comes as Vietnam endeavors to position itself as an attractive business destination while simultaneously reducing its dependence on China.