Vietnam police probing false rumor of bank officials being arrested

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The Ministry of Public Security are seeking culprits who spread the rumor that three officials from the Bank for Development and Investment of Vietnam (BIDV), including its board chairman, were arrested by police.

Major-general Trinh Van Thong, deputy chief of the ministry's General Department of Security II, said they have launched an investigation into the case after being informed by the BIDV on Thursday.

That same day the bank also issued a press release to reject the rumor, saying that it has negatively affected BIDV's brand, as well as the Vietnam's stock and financial markets.

The bank said the false information originated and was spread on Thursday morning when its leaders were attending a meeting chaired by its board chairman Tran Bac Ha.

It was first rumored that an official with the State Bank of Vietnam was apprehended. The rumor then befell a director of a BIDV branch, BIDV's deputy director general, and finally Ha was said to have been taken into police custody as well, Ha said in an interview with Thanh Nien.

Ha suspected that those people who made up the information had earned hundreds of billions from stock, gold and foreign exchange markets which have fluctuated "unusually" over the past three days.

VN-Index on Thursday saw a decrease of 18 percent, the biggest drop over the past six months, landing at 476.73. Meanwhile, the forex market saw the dong-US dollar exchange rate descend to VND21,000 to the dollar for the first time in many months.

According to Ha, the rumor affected the stock market "most clearly," saying that they suspected that four stock codes have been manipulated.

"It [the rumor] has not only affected the BIDV, but also caused instability to an economy's important but quite sensitive markets," Ha said. "Those who make up such kind of rumor need to be strictly punished."

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