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Vietnamese tycoons held in wave of fraud cases

Hanoi (AFP) – Vietnamese prosecutors announced charges against a major drinks tycoon on Friday, the latest in a wave of arrests targeting top business leaders accused of embezzling billions of dollars.

Truong Quy Thanh, the head of Tan Hiep Phat Group – which makes some of the country’s most popular soft drinks – is to be prosecuted along with his two daughters for appropriating USD31.5 million.

Authorities in the communist state have unveiled a string of prosecutions in recent days accusing high-profile business figures of massive fraud.

Do Anh Dung, chairman of property developer Tan Hoang Minh Group, is to be prosecuted for illegally acquiring USD355 million in a bond sale to more than 6,500 investors, it was announced this week.

The chairwoman of property developer Van Thinh Phat, Truong My Lan, has been accused with accomplices of embezzling USD12.5 billion from the SCB Bank “for personal purposes”, VNExpress news site reported, quoting final police investigation papers.

Founded in 1992, Van Thinh Phat owns high-end hotels, restaurants and luxury apartments, and has also invested in financial services.

Police have recommended Lan be charged with bribery, violating banking regulations, and embezzlement.

The state media report said 85 others were recommended for charging over similar offences, as well as appropriating of property by abuse of trust.

The value of Lan’s alleged asset appropriation is equivalent to around three per cent of Vietnam’s total GDP for 2022.

Vietnam has seen a sweeping government crackdown on corrupt officials and members of the country’s business elite in recent years.

More than 3,500 people have been indicted across more than 1,300 graft cases since 2021.

The sweep has been driven by powerful Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong, who earlier this week demanded the purge press ahead “faster and in a more efficient manner”.

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