A former chairman of the administration of Vung Tau, a coastal city in the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, has gone on trial for his role in a VND400 billion (US$17.2 million) land fraud.
The provincial People’s Court on Tuesday began the trial of Phan Hoa Binh, 54, ex-chairman of the Vung Tau People’s Committee, for his involvement in the scam committed by An Khang Real Estate JSC.
Aside from Binh, Truong Van Tri, his then-deputy, Nguyen Thanh Son, a former urban management official, and Vu Quoc Tuan and Nguyen Trung Quoc, both ex-officials of the Vung Tau environment division, were also standing trial.
They were charged for violating regulations on land management.
Three other defendants, who are former leaders of An Khang Company, were charged for fraud.
According to the indictment, An Khang signed contracts with nearly 290 clients to mobilize more than VND400 billion worth of investment between 2010 and 2013.
The money was said to be used to develop a real estate project on a local piece of land.
However, the firm did not have permission to use that land plot as well as sufficient financial capacity to carry out the project at the time.
Even so, Tuan and Quoc still submitted documents to the city’s administration, suggesting that An Khang be allowed to implement the project on an area of 86,000 square meters.
Binh and Tri were the ones who signed the paperwork.
The leaders of An Khang did not spend the clients’ money on the project but used it for personal purposes.
Police initiated legal proceedings of the case in 2014. An Khang has since negotiated with about 200 victims and returned nearly VND300 billion ($12.9 million).
The trial is expected to last until July 24.