Hanoi skyscraper apartment owners demand maintenance money back from embattled Korean investor

By Le Quan, Thanh Nien News

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The Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower. Photo: Ngoc Thang The Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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People living in the US$1.05-billion Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, the country’s tallest building, have pleaded with the government to intervene to help them get back VND160 billion (US$7.38 million) they have paid in maintenance fees to the building’s troubled South Korean developer.
The skyscraper built by Korean firm Keangnam Enterprises was recently put on sale after the South Korean media reported that Mr. Sung Wan-jong, the former head of Keangnam, committed suicide amid investigations into his secret dealings with top Korean politicians.
The company that operates the Hanoi building, Keangnam Vina, allegedly cooked accounting books to hide mounting debts during construction.
The Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower complex consists of one 72-story office tower that rises 350 m and two 48-story residential towers. All apartments in the two latter towers have been sold.
Residents there claim they paid VND160 billion in maintenance fees since 2011, but Keangnam Vina denies it, saying it only got VND125 billion ($5.76 million), which it agreed to pay to the new management – formed in 2012 -- over 25 years (VND5 billion per year).
The apartment owners are strongly opposed to the proposal, pointing out the South Korean company is in trouble and could exit Vietnam any moment.
They have lodged complaints with the Hanoi government and the Ministry of Construction but are yet to get a reply.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, they called on the government to order Keangnam Vina to return the maintenance fees if it successfully sells the building.

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