2 more Vietnamese investors fined for banker arrest rumors

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Two of three investors who spread rumors online about the arrest of a bank chairman, which significantly hurt the local stock market in February, have been fined VND10 million (US$474) each.

Nguyen Duc Tho, chief inspector of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications, said Saturday that his agency imposed the penalties on two people in HCMC, 28 and 37 years old, who used the online nicknames danghocdoi and hungpvn to spread false information on the forums f319.com and Vietstock.com respectively.

Another person in Hanoi, nicknamed Casperkid, 33, was fined VND15 million by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in July, for spreading the same rumor about Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the Bank for Development and Investment of Vietnam (BIDV), on tathy.com.

BIDV is Vietnam's largest partly private bank by assets.

According to investigators from Ministry of Public Security (MPS), after the rumors on the morning of February 21, the VN-Index dropped 18.1 points or 3.66 percent, the biggest fall in six months, landing at 476.73. The forex market saw the Vietnamese dong exceed VND21,000 per dollar for the first time in many months.

BIDV and Ha himself rejected the rumors later that day.

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MPS and MIC said that the rumormongers were small investors motivated by their own financial gain and had no intention to disrupt to the stock market, adding that they only wanted to show off and catch attention.

They concluded that their violations were eligible for a fine rather than criminal charges.

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