Legal costs for Trung Nguyen divorce dispute exaggerated to tenfold

March 30, 2019 | 16:51
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The legal cost for the prolonged Trung Nguyen divorce were mistakenly exaggerated tenfold during the reading of the verdict to more than VND80 billion ($3.48 million), instead of the actual VND8.1 billion ($352,173).
legal costs for trung nguyen divorce dispute exaggerated to tenfold
Three-year divorce dispute finally come to an end

On March 28, Nguyen Van Xuan, the presiding judge of the divorce between Trung Nguyen chairman Dang Le Nguyen Vu and Le Hoang Diep Thao, admitted the mistake and blamed it on mental exhaustion.

“It took me three hours to read the verdict,” Xuan said. “The legal costs are actually about VND8.1 billion ($352,173), including VND4.7 billion ($204,347) for Vu and VND3.4 billion ($147,826) for Thao.”

March 27 officially saw the divorcement of the couple behind the Trung Nguyen coffee brand. At the court, judge Xuan announced that the legal costs of the divorce settlement as VND80 billion ($3.48 million), as well as detailing the partition of the common assets. However, the arrangement did not satisfy Thao because she is left without a stake in Trung Nguyen, as all the firm’s shares were awarded to Vu.

In exchange, Vu will be obligated to pay Thao the valuation of her shares in the company. Thao could get about VND3 trillion ($130.4 million) for this.

Regarding their common assets, Vu will own six houses worth more than VND350 billion ($15.2 million). Thao will own seven houses worth VND375 billion ($16.3 million) and will be obligated to pay the difference of VND12.5 billion ($543,478) to Vu.

Unsatisfied with the result, Thao stated, "This is unfair for me and my four children."

The dispute originally exploded in April 2015, when Vu suddenly dismissed Thao from her position as the group’s deputy general director. In a complaint sent to the Binh Duong People’s Court in November 2015, Thao said that in October of the same year Vu organised a board of management meeting without her to dismiss her from her positions as the chairman of the board of management and deputy general director.

Thao filed for divorce at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court in November 2015.

Last year, a dispute between Trung Nguyen Group and Le Hoang Diep Thao, the group’s former deputy general director, also caused a stir as it has been revealed that the group’s subsidiary – Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee JSC (Trung Nguyen IC) – in mid-2017 sued Thao at the Bac Giang People’s Court for illegally seizing the company’s seals and the Bac Giang branch’s legal documents. Trung Nguyen IC asked Thao to pay a compensation of $75.2 million.

On May 16, 2017 Thao rejected Trung Nguyen IC as well as her husband Dang Le Nguyen Vu’s accusations. Thao argued that Vu was not Trung Nguyen IC’s legal representative because at the time Vu was the legal representative of Trung Nguyen Group, thus his dual representative positions would have led to a clash of interests and was against the company’s charter.

In August 2017, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court applied urgent interim measures to ensure the joint ownership rights over their common assets, which include 93 per cent of Trung Nguyen Group’s tangible and intangible assets, including subsidiary Trung Nguyen IC.

By Hoang Van

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