Earlier this month, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 told Dat Viet newspaper the model’s ex-husband claimed she had appropriated his properties, cars, securities, and cash worth VND228 billion (US$10.9 million).
Law professionals said the finding could give Thuy an extra advantage in court now that it was pointed out the model has never registered for a marriage license with An in Vietnam, according to the Civil Status Division under the Ho Chi Minh Justice Department.
This means the couple’s marriage, which was registered in California (US) in 2006, is not recognized by local law, lawyer Nguyen Ngoc Bich from the HCMC Lawyer Association said.
“Vietnam’s law requires that a Vietnamese marrying a foreigner in another country has to register in Vietnam for their marriage to be legally accepted,” she said.
Thus, the case will be treated as a common property dispute between two civilians without any marital element involved, which most of the time results in a property division for both of the parties, Tam said.
In addition, the ruling by the Superior Court of California (the US) at their divorce in 2008 that Thuy had to return all the assets to her husband is also not recognized here since Vietnam and America have not signed any mutual legal assistance treaty, said lawyer Truong Xuan Tam of the Vietnam Lawyer Federation.
For cases like this, lawyer Le Thanh Kinh of Le Nguyen Law Office said it would be more favorable for any party who can establish proof of their right of ownership over the assets.
As of present, Thuy would have more advantage than her husband in court because all of the disputed properties are in her name.
Explaining why the properties were not in his name, An said he did not have Vietnamese citizenship in 2007 after the couple tied the knot and was not allowed to buy real estate in his own name; therefore, he bought them in Thuy’s name.
The properties include a nice upscale apartment on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, District 1, 14 pieces of lands and villas in Phan Thiet, a villa in Binh Thanh district, 3 pieces of lands in Vung Tau, 7 cars and cash.
After the pair separated, “Though I had asked Thuy to transfer the properties to my company after the divorce, she not only refused to do it but also transferred their ownership to her family members,” he claimed.
He had agreed to her suggestion that the properties should be sold and she could keep the interest, but she later changed her mind about this.
An said he would also fight for custody of their daughters Nguyen Angelina Dior and Nguyen Valentina Dior, four and three.
“I am a responsible father. I want to raise them so that they can have a good life.”
Dat Viet said it managed to contact Thuy after much effort, but she only said: “No comment.”
Thuy’s mother Truong Thi Be, in an affidavit to the court, admitted her daughter had transferred some properties to her.