High-profile Vietnamese magnate Nguyen Cao Tri's assets under scrutiny

July 06, 2023 | 14:39
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Lam Dong Justice Department has advised local notary organisations to halt all transactions connected to the land of business magnate Nguyen Cao Tri, pending a decision from the competent authorities.
High-profile Vietnamese magnate Nguyen Cao Tri's assets under scrutiny

Following a report from local newswire Nguoi Lao Dong, a fresh wave of scrutiny has swept over the dealings of business magnate Nguyen Cao Tri.

In an unprecedented move, Lam Dong Justice Department has urged all notary offices within its jurisdiction to cease the notarisation of transactions, which include sales, transfers, donations associated with land usage rights, property ownership, and any of Tri's related assets. The freeze will remain in effect until a conclusive decision from the competent authorities is received.

This action has been triggered by an ongoing investigation spearheaded by the Department of Anti-Corruption, Economic, and Smuggling Crime Police under the Ministry of Public Security. The probe into Tri's affairs was formally launched on October 14, 2022, and appended additional proceedings on January 15.

Nguyen Cao Tri, a 53-year-old resident of District 3, Ho Chi Minh City and CEO of Saigon-Dai Ninh Tourism Investment JSC, has found himself at the centre of this investigation.

Tri, a prominent figure in Ho Chi Minh City's business landscape, is also known for his dual role as chairman and CEO of Capella Holdings. Formerly operating as Ben Thanh Land with a primary focus on real estate, Capella Holdings expanded its portfolio across a myriad of sectors, including dining and education.

As per the information on Capella Holdings' official website, it has an impressive repertoire of nine popular brands that span from entertainment venues to wedding conference centres and bars.

The company holds up to nine renowned brands across various sectors, such as entertainment (Air 360 Sky Bar, Chill Bar, and La Vie En Rose Live Music Bar), and wedding conference centres (Riverside Palace, Claris Palace, Capella Park View, and the Capella Center).

The Chill Sky Bar and Air 360 Sky Lounge are particularly renowned social hotspots.

The firm solidified its prominence in the food and beverage (F&B) and entertainment sectors in 2018 when its subsidiary, Chloe Hospitality, secured management rights for the iconic Tajmasago castle and Cham Charm restaurant from Vietnamese entrepreneur Hoang Khai.

However, Capella Holdings' ambition transcends the F&B sector. The conglomerate also boasts a footprint in the real estate industry with The One Saigon skyscraper, and has diversified into consumer retail, healthcare, education, and high-tech agriculture, among other sectors, as it vies to secure its status as a multi-sector conglomerate.

In addition to his influential role in Capella Holdings, Tri serves as the legal representative and CEO of Saigon Dai Ninh Investment JSC. This company is the principal developer of the Dai Ninh urban project – a commercial, tourism, and eco-residential area. Established in 2010, Saigon Dai Ninh has a registered capital of approximately VND2 trillion ($83.3 million).

The Dai Ninh urban project, located across four communes of the Duc Trong district of Lam Dong province, spans a vast planned area of 3,595 hectares. With an estimated total investment exceeding VND25 trillion ($1.04 billion), the project has seen minimal progress, with only basic infrastructure being completed 13 years after its investment certificate issuance.

In 2020, the Government Inspectorate reported multiple irregularities at the project, prompting a request for Lam Dong People's Committee to terminate the venture and reclaim the land. However, the project managed to avert land reclamation following the Government Inspectorate's revision of its conclusions.

Adding a layer of complexity to this scenario, the Ministry of Public Security, together with Lam Dong Police, initiated a case against Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Chief Inspector of Lam Dong province. The investigation is exploring potential bribery allegations linked to Tri's project.

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By Trung Duong

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