The Hà Nội People’s Court on Wednesday reopened the trial of three men involved in a large-scale property fraud with as many as 146 victims. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People’s Court on Wednesday reopened the trial of three men involved in a large-scale property fraud with as many as 146 victims.
The new trial against Nguyễn Quốc Xương, 60, Nguyễn Đức Thắng, 68 and his 63-year-old brother Nguyễn Đức Lợi was ordered following a decision last year by the Supreme People’s Court to cancel the previous sentences for all defendants due to a legal breach by the courts.
Trần Ứng Thanh, a defendant in the earlier case, died in prison serving his life sentence and was hence technically dismissed from his punishment.
The trio still faced fraud charges in the new trial. They are accused of swindling nearly VNĐ170 billion (US$7.4 million) from people who were looking to buy an apartment in the modern residential area of Việt Hưng in Gia Lâm District back in 2012.
Hoàn Kiếm District People’s Committee was the investor in an apartment project in Việt Hưng to resettle residents from the overpopulated Old Quarter in the city centre.
Nguyễn Đức Thắng jumped at the opportunity to broker meetings between the Hoàn Kiếm authorities and his brother Nguyễn Đức Lợi, who at that time was the general director of the Hà Nội company. After the district agreed to let the company build the apartment buildings, Thắng and Lợi secretly dealt with Trần Ứng Thanh, former general director of the Hồng Hà company, scheming to hand over the project to Hồng Hà company at a cost of around VNĐ80 billion.
Hà Nội company then reported to Hoàn Kiếm District that it was short of experience to do such project, asking Hồng Hà company to take its place. The proposal was accepted.
While the district was yet to officially approve a detailed plan on the project, the two companies started signing house contracts and received a total of nearly VNĐ170 billion from their customers.
After their fraud was exposed, the two companies only managed to return some VNĐ33 billion to the victims.
A court in 2014 and an appeals court a year later sentenced Thanh and Thắng to life imprisonment while Lợi and Nguyễn Quốc Xương, former deputy general director of Hồng Hà company, received sentences of 18 and 13 years behind bars, respectively.
They were asked to repay all the money to the victims, many of whom then appealed to the cassation court for the lack of responsibility of the Hồng Hà Company to compensate them.
The court in 2017 ruled in favour of the victims, asking for retrials which take into account the role of Hồng Hà company. — VNS