Vietnamese executive cheats Japanese partner out of $867,000

TN News

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Hanoi police are searching for the director of a company who allegedly swindled more than US$867,000 from a Japanese businessman.

Last Friday police issued arrest and four-month detention orders against Dao Thanh Nhi, 35, but she had already fled the city.

Nhi is accused of defrauding Sugimoto Hiroyuki, board chairman of Sugitec Co.Ltd based in Japan.

Sugimoto said in a complaint that in April 2006, his Japanese friend Naoki Omura, board chairman of Kato Seisasho Company based in Osaka, Japan, told him that his Vietnamese wife Dao Thanh Nhi, director of Kinhi Mechanical Co Ltd based in Vietnam, would help Sugimoto conduct business in Vietnam.

Nhi persuaded Sugimoto to invest in 15,000 square meters of land at the Pho Noi A Industrial Zone in Hung Yen Province in order to establish a joint venture to be called Progtechno Vietnam.

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

Only three months after the company began operating in March 2008, Nhi demanded it be shut down since it had not paid the rent for the land it had leased from Kinhi.

After Sugimoto reported the case to police, Nhi showed police papers with the signatures of Sugimoto to prove that the Japanese businessman had leased the land to set up Protechno Vietnam. She also presented documents showing Sugimoto had used the money from the joint venture's account to pay her for his debt.

However, after verification, investigators concluded that Nhi had forged the documents.

Nhi faces charges of "abusing trust to appropriate assets."

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