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Trial Begins for Tân Hoàng Minh Chairman and Son in Alleged $368 Million Bond Fraud Scheme

On the morning of March 19th, the People's Court of Hanoi opened a trial of first instance against Đỗ Anh Dũng, Chairman of Tân Hoàng Minh Tourism Service Hotel Joint Stock Company (Tân Hoàng Minh Group) and his son Đỗ Hoàng Việt along with 13 other accomplices on the charge of fraudulent appropriation of assets.

At 7:15 am today, defendant Đỗ Anh Dũng, Chairman of Tân Hoàng Minh, was escorted to the trial. The trial is presided over by Judge Nguyễn Xuân Văn and expected to last 20 days. 

More than 20 lawyers participated to defend the legitimate rights and interests of the defendants. Lawyer Giang Hồng Thanh (Giang Thanh Law Firm) defended defendant Đỗ Anh Dũng, while lawyer Nguyễn Văn Tú (FANCI Law Company) defended defendant Đỗ Hoàng Việt. Notably, more than 6,660 investors were determined to be victims and also summoned to the court.

Prior to the trial, over 1,400 people petitioned for leniency in sentencing for Mr. Đỗ Anh Dũng and his son along with some other defendants. According to the accusation, in June 2021 Tân Hoàng Minh had huge debts as many projects could not be deployed on schedule and were further impacted by Covid-19, causing financial difficulties. The group had over VND18,500 billion in credit debts.

By January 2022, Tân Hoàng Minh's debt ballooned to nearly VND20,000 billion, excluding debts from 8 corporate bond programs issued in 2021. Facing the need to repay many loans and spend money, Đỗ Anh Dũng directed subordinates at Tân Hoàng Minh to launch private bond offerings to raise funds.

The defendants agreed that Tân Hoàng Minh would not directly issue bonds as it had many subsidiaries without timely auditing ability. Instead, 3 subsidiaries would sell private bonds, including Ngôi Sao Việt Company, Soleil Company, and Cung Điện Mùa Đông Company. These subsidiaries then opened 9 private bond issuances totaling over VND10,000 billion. Through this, Đỗ Anh Dũng and accomplices raised nearly VND14,000 billion. The funds raised were spent by the Chairman and accomplices on various matters instead of the intended bond purposes.

The prosecution accused the 15 defendants in the case of embezzling more than VND8,600 billion, which has now been reimbursed to victims. Đỗ Anh Dũng bears main responsibility in this case but investigative authorities acknowledged mitigating factors such as philanthropic activities, commendations from central agencies, and actively rectifying consequences of the case. Sentencing will take into account these factors.

The hearing continues with testimony from victims, defendants and related parties to determine the facts in this major bond fraud scandal that has grabbed headlines in Vietnam. The ruling promises to set precedent on white collar crime enforcement in the country.

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