Viet kieu sues ex-model for appropriating $13 .7 mln in property

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A court in Ho Chi Minh City on November 18 accepted a lawsuit filed by a Viet Kieu against a former top model from Vietnam, asking her to return to him property worth VND288 billion (US$13.7 million), VnExpress reported.

In his petition submitted to the HCMC People's Court, Nguyen Quoc An, 49, accused his ex-wife, 31-year-old Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, of appropriating property, including houses and cars, he bought in Vietnam.

An claimed that he bought the property during their marriage between 2006 and March 2008, and that they were all registered in her name because Vietnamese laws don't allow foreigners to own real estate.

According to An, at their divorce hearing in California, a court ordered Thuy to return all the property to him because he bought it with his own money. She hasn't followed the order, but transferred the property to her mother and others, he said.

A report in Tuoi Tre said that since their marriage and divorce were registered in the US, which is invalid in Vietnam, the court will handle the lawsuit as a property dispute case, instead of a post-divorce property dispute.

In the meantime, VnExpress quoted a family member of the famous model as saying that she is now living in the US with her two daughters and has authorized her mother to attend the lawsuit in Vietnam.

"She doesn't want to say anything about the case. But, if she really appropriated the property illegally as claimed by An, can she live in the US without any problem?" the family member, who wished to remain unnamed, said.

Thuy is also submitting a lawsuit to a US court, asking An to pay her and the children a monthly allowance of $8,000, the Vietnamese-American said in VnExpress.

Previously, local media reported that Thuy has returned to Vietnam since the divorce.

The newspaper Phap Luat TPHCM (HCMC Law) quoted a lawyer as saying that Thuy will probably be arrested if she returns to the US for failing to follow the verdict handed down by the US court. 

Lawyer Truong Xuan Tam, member of the Vietnam Bar Federation's committee, also said in the newspaper that the model will face an arrest warrant in any country that has judicial cooperation with the US, or even on any flight whose operator cooperates with the country.

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