Lawsuit against gold exchange postponed, pending counsel

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A court in Ho Chi Minh City has postponed a lawsuit filed by a local investor against Asia Commercial Bank's gold exchange, saying it needs to seek counsel from the central bank before issuing a verdict.

Tran Trong Nghia, 37, claimed he lost more than VND78 billion when trading at the gold exhange in 2007 and 2008 and he is now seeking compensation.

He filed suit against the exchange at the end of 2009.

Nghia claimed that, on December 24, 2007, he placed a sale order for 3,000 goal taels at VND15.69 million each and the staff at the exchange told him he had successfully sold 150 taels.

When prices began falling, Nghia decided to revoke the order to sell the remaining 2,850 taels and then placed a new order to sell them at a lower price of VND15.66 million. He was informed that the trade was succesful.

Later that day, the exchange told him that there was a mistake: he had in fact sold 2,850 tales in the first order, not 150 taels. This meant when he odered to sell another 2,850 taels, he had a negative balance of 2,700 tales.

Hai said at first the exchange admitted its fault, offering to sell him 2,700 taels at VND15.66 million per tael. But since then the exchange has not sold him the gold. As gold prices continued to surge after that, Hai said he's lost more than VND40 billion.

But the dispute did not end there.

Nghia claims that in March 2008, he received a request from the exchange to renew his trading contract, but he did not immediately respond. Three days later, the exchange made the unilateral decision to cancel his contract and sell 3,000 taels from his account at VND17,82 million. Nghia said this led to another loss of VND38 billion.

The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court was supposed to annouce a verdict on September 30. However, the court postponed the trial, pending counsel from the governor of the central bank.

The State Bank of Vietnam closed all 20 gold exchanges in the country by the end of March. It said the closure was necessary to eliminate risks posed to the national financial system.

Several investors with similar grievances are waiting to see how this case will turn out, Tien Phong newspaper reported.

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