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Billionaire sentenced to death for $44bn fraud

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67-year-old Vietnamese property developer, Truong My Lan, has been sentenced to death for looting one of the country’s largest banks over a period of 11 years.

Such judgement decision which is rare in Vietnam is a reflection of the weighty scale of the fraud.

She was convicted for taking out $44bn (£35bn) in loans from the Saigon Commercial Bank, Diaspora Digital Media reports.

The verdict requires her to return $27bn, a sum prosecutors said may never be recovered.

Truong My Lan arrives in court

Truong My Lan arrives in court

Some believe the death penalty is the court’s way of trying to encourage her to return some of the missing billions.

The court said 2,700 people were summoned to testify, while 10 state prosecutors and around 200 lawyers were involved.

The evidence was in 104 boxes weighing a total of six tonnes.

Eighty-five others were tried with Truong My Lan, who denied the charges and can appeal.

All of the defendants were found guilty. Four received life in jail. The rest were given prison terms ranging from 20 years to three years suspended.

Her husband and niece received jail terms of nine and 17 years respectively.

“There has never been a show trial like this, I think, in the communist era,” says David Brown, a retired US state department official with long experience in Vietnam. “There has certainly been nothing on this scale.”

The trial was the most dramatic chapter so far in the “Blazing Furnaces” anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party Secretary-General, Nguyen Phu Trong.


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