Vietnam woman arrested for swindling $867,000 from Japanese businessman

TN News

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The Hanoi police said Tuesday they have arrested a woman for allegedly cheating a Japanese businessman out of more than US$867,000.

Dao Thanh Nhi, 35, was found in Ho Chi Minh City where she had been hiding after fleeing Hanoi, they said.

Four days earlier they had issued an arrest warrant for her, but by the time Nhi, who is accused of defrauding Sugimoto Hiroyuki, had bolted.

Sugimoto complained to the police that in 2006 his compatriot and friend Naoki Omura, chairman of Kato Seisasho Company in Osaka, Japan, had told him that his Vietnamese wife Nhi, director of Vietnam-based Kinhi Mechanical Co Ltd, would help him do business in Vietnam.

Nhi persuaded Sugimoto to lease 15,000 square meters of land in the Pho Noi A Industrial Zone in the northern province of Hung Yen and establish a joint venture with her firm.

In 2008 Sugimoto arrived in Vietnam, and Nhi showed him certified copies of the JV's licenses. He then transferred more than $1.1 million to the firm's account to pay for land lease, construction, and other expenses.

But three months after the company opened in March 2008, Nhi demanded it be shut down, claiming that it had not paid the rent for the land it had leased from Kinhi.

Sugimoto complained to the police, and Nhi produced papers with his signature showing he had used the money to repay a debt he owed her.

But after verification, investigators concluded that Nhi had forged them.

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She also claimed to have returned VND11.3 billion ($536,285) to him.

Police said Nhi was accused of cheating Sugimoto out of $867,000, but the details are not known yet.

They are investigating.

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