|The defendants at HCM City's People's Court on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The HCM City People's Court on Thursday opened the first-instance trial in the case of property fraud and money laundering at Alibaba Company, in which around 4,000 people lost more than VNĐ2 trillion (US$84 million).
Nguyễn Thái Luyện, chairman of the Board of Directors of Alibaba Company, and his young brother Nguyễn Thái Lực, his wife Võ Thị Thanh Mai and 19 defendants face charges of fraudulent appropriation of property.
Mai and Lực, together with Huỳnh Thị Kim Thắng, accountant of Alibaba Company, are charged with money laundering.
According to the indictment, Nguyễn Thái Luyện established Alibaba Company with 22 affiliate companies to operate in the field of real estate in May 2016.
Luyện assigned his relatives and trusted employees to act as legal entities of these companies, which became a tool to illegally appropriate property.
Taking advantage of people's lack of understanding of the law in the transfer of land use rights, Luyện and his accomplices counterfeited residential projects, illegally divided and separated land plots, and sold them to thousands of people to illegally appropriate VNĐ2 trillion.
To create trust and attract customers, Luyện used sophisticated tricks such as promising to buy back the land at higher prices from 30 per cent upward after 12 months or 38 per cent after 15 months from the date of payment. He also lured customers by telling them they could rent the land back for 2 per cent per month from the date of signing if the customers paid 95 per cent of the contract value.
With this method, most customers who receive land transfers in the form of residential plots offered by Alibaba Company, did not receive the certificates of land use rights as committed on the due date. Instead, Alibaba Company converted it to the form of interest payment or repurchase according to the options contracts or attached contract addendums.
The court was told that Alibaba Company didn’t get permission to divide and separate land plots and the land was not residential as advertised by the company. The offering of options or attached contract addendums was a means of luring people to the projects.
Nearly 4,700 people are expected to participate in the proceedings, including 4,500 victims and 200 people with related rights and obligations.
The trial, which is chaired by Judge Trần Minh Châu, is scheduled to go on trial until January 6, 2023.
Representatives of the People's Procuracy of HCM City were three prosecutors, Lê Thị Đông, Phạm Văn Hiền, and Châu Hoàng Sơn.
Due to the huge number of victims involved, the HCM City’s People’s Court has announced the time of participation in the trial.
1,418 victims in eight projects of Alibaba Phước Bình Central Park, Alibaba Phước Bình Central Park 2, Alibaba Phước Thái Capital, Alibaba Long Phước Industry, Alibaba Phú Mỹ Central City, Alibaba Phú Mỹ Central City 2, Ali Venice City, and Alibaba Phú Mỹ Center City is expected to be questioned from December 13-15.
1,797 victims in nine projects of Alibaba Center Town, Alibaba Tóc Tiên Residence 3, Alibaba Tân Thành Center City, Alibaba Tân Thành Center City 6, Alibaba Tân Thành Homy City, Alibaba Tân Thành Center City 7, Ali Aqua Nhơn Trạch, Alibaba Phước Bình Central Park 3, Alibaba Tóc Tiên Residence 2, Alibaba Phước Bình Golf is scheduled to participate between December 15-17.
1,483 victims in 25 real estate projects are scheduled to participate between December 17-19 and 2,001 victims in 13 other projects participate between December 19-21. — VNS