Viet kieu confronts ex-wife over $13.6 mln property dispute

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A Ho Chi Minh City court Friday tried to mediate a VND288-billion (US$13.6 million) property dispute between a wealthy Vietnamese-American and his famous ex-wife.

The HCMC People's Court was trying to resolve a lawsuit filed by Nguyen Quoc An nearly three years ago.

An, 51, had asked Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, a 33-year-old famous former model in Vietnam, to return to him property that he bought with his money during their marriage between 2006 and March 2008.

The property was estimated to be worth VND288 billion, and was all registered in her name because Vietnamese laws do not allow foreigners to own real estate.

Thuy, who has reportedly returned to Vietnam from the US, according to Dan Tri online newspaper, did not attend the hearing.

Previously, An asked the HCMC court to take emergency measures to bar Thuy from leaving Vietnam until the case has been concluded, saying that he would compensate for any losses she suffered from the ban.

However, the court refused An's proposal, saying that she had authorized another person to join the legal proceedings on her behalf, so her absence did not affect the lawsuit.

The Viet kieu's lawyer Nguyen Huu The Trach told Thanh Nien that 38 items of disputed property -- including houses, land, and cars -- were open for discussion at the meeting.

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However, Thuy's representatives refused to meet with An and his lawyer on 21 of them.

For the rest, they admitted that some were bought by An with his own money, and the two sides could not reach consent on others.

The HCMC People's Court ordered those involved to submit related documents within the next 15 days to prove their claims, Trach said.

According to An, at their divorce hearing in California in March 2008, Thuy was ordered to return all the property to him because he bought it with his own money.

But she hasn't followed the order, and transferred the property to her mother and others, he said.

Thuy and An had two daughters.

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