Truong My Lan faces death penalty in SCB corruption case

By Ha Linh - Mar 19, 2024 | 10:43 PM GMT+7

TheLEADERLan is accused of directing senior figures within SCB and Van Thinh Phat to falsify records and siphon funds from SCB.

On March 19, prosecutors at the on-going trial concluded its indictment against Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Group and 85 others involved in irregularities at Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB).

Lan, along with her associates, stands accused of various offenses, including bribery, breaching lending regulations, and embezzlement. The prosecution is recommending the death penalty for her role in the embezzlement scheme.

Despite several mitigating factors such as first-time offenses and community contributions, Lan faces severe charges due to her alleged involvement in multiple offenses over an extended period.

The prosecution alleges that Lan utilized sophisticated methods to manipulate SCB, taking advantage of state policies to mobilize funds for personal businesses and the Van Thinh Phat ecosystem.

The prosecutors suggests a 20-year prison term for bribery and 19-20 years for violating lending regulations. Furthermore, the prosecution proposes the death penalty for embezzlement, with the cumulative sentence being death.

According to the prosecutors, investigations into the case have revealed a pattern of actions by Lan since 2011, wherein she orchestrated the merger of three private banks to form SCB.

Allegedly leveraging governmental policies aimed at restructuring SCB, Lan purportedly utilized the bank as a financial tool to advance her personal business interests and the wider Van Thinh Phat system.

With purported ownership of 91.5 per cent of SCB's shares held through various individuals, Lan is accused of directing senior figures within SCB and Van Thinh Phat to falsify records and siphon funds from SCB.

In order to mask the illegitimate withdrawal of funds and evade detection, Lan allegedly instructed SCB officials to channel funds to "shell" companies before subsequently withdrawing cash or transferring money through convoluted routes to obscure the trail.

The practice of inflating the value of low-worth assets to secure substantial loans is alleged to have been employed as a strategy to seize the deposits of SCB clients.

During her tenure of 10 years at SCB, Lan purportedly directed her associates to disburse over 2,500 loans to entities within the Van Thinh Phat network.

As of October 2022, Lan's group of companies and Van Thinh Phat still had nearly 1,300 outstanding loans, resulting in damages totaling VND677 trillion ($27.3 billion) in principal and interest.

However, the prosecutors has determined that the actual damage incurred in the case surpasses VND498 trillion ($20 billion). This assessment takes into account factors that are perceived to benefit the defendants, after deducting the value of secured assets.

The prosecution alleges that Lan orchestrated efforts to conceal SCB's vulnerabilities and circumvent special oversight by directing her subordinates to bribe the inspection team.

It is reported that former SCB CEO Vo Tan Hoang Van provided Do Thi Nhan, the former director of the State Bank's Inspection and Supervision Department, with $5.2 million on four separate occasions.

Additionally, money and gifts were allegedly provided to inspection team members to suppress irregularities and expedite SCB's ongoing restructuring efforts.

The prosecutors has also proposed that the People's Court sentence two former chairmen of SCB, inincluding Dinh Van Thanh and Bui Anh Dung, and former CEO Vo Tan Hoang Van to life imprisonment for crimes related to asset misappropriation, violations of lending regulations of credit institutions.

Additionally, defendants Truong Khanh Hoang and Tran Thi My Dung, former deputy CEOs of SCB, are recommended by the prosecutors to receive sentences ranging from 19 to 20 years in prison for asset misappropriation.