The top bosses of a Ho Chi Minh City-based real estate company being probed for irregularities in land sale have been apprehended by police on Wednesday afternoon.
Officers searched the headquarters of Alibaba Real Estate Corporation on Kha Van Can Street in Thu Duc and arrested its chairman and director, a source told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Officers from the Ho Chi Minh City police as well as those from the Ministry of Public Security were involved in the search and arrests.
Dozens of officers of the municipal flying squad and many police vehicles were seen outside the Alibaba building as an entire section of the road was blockaded for the intensive search in the afternoon.
Traffic police officers were also dispatched to nearby Pham Van Dong Boulevard to divert traffic from Kha Van Can Street where the search took place.
Officers made the arrests of Alibaba chairman Nguyen Thai Luyen and director Nguyen Thai Linh – Luyen’s younger brother – on the same day as police launched criminal proceedings against the men for “appropriating property through fraud.”
Two other simultaneous searches were also conducted at Alibaba offices in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City and Long Thanh District, Dong Nai Province.
Alibaba was established on May 6, 2016 with four people and a charter capital of VND100 million (US$4,300), according to the company’s website.
Luyen owns an 80 percent stake at the company, while Linh and Nguyen Thai Luc, another brother of his, are major stakeholders.
The real estate corporation and over 20 of its subsidiaries are accused of fraudulently offering for sale thousands of land plots in 48 ‘phantom’ projects in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Binh Thuan.
These locations are agricultural land owned by individuals and are not up for sale, local administrations have found.
Alibaba has collected money from more than 7,000 customers with the amount of appropriated money amounting to hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong (VND100 billion ≈ $4.3 million).
Police have previously frozen bank accounts of Linh and Alibaba’s legal affairs director Vo Thi Thanh Mai.