Police probe further into illegal gold, forex exchange

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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A group of suspects from the Hanoi Golden Investment Joint Stock Company were arrested on January 12. Photo: Thai Son A group of suspects from the Hanoi Golden Investment Joint Stock Company were arrested on January 12. Photo: Thai Son

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Vietnam's Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang has called for the expansion of an investigation into a Hanoi company's illegal gold and currency exchange.
"The police have to wrap this case up early in order to deter similar schemes in the future," he said.
On January 12, police raided on the Hanoi Golden Investment Joint Stock Company (HGI)'s capitol headquarters and branch office in Da Nang making a string of arrests and carting away physical evidence.
They now claim the firm illegally collected US$12.6 million from 3,037 investors.
The arrestees include HGI's director, Phung Quoc Huy, its founder, Nguyen Duc Chung, and seven of the company's employees, the Hanoi Police Department announced on Tuesday.
Police say the company was established in 2009 and began conducting illegal transactions through its website hgi.com.vn.
Investors were invited to trade and deposit currency and gold at the firm's offices or online using its software.
Since 2012, the company began to attract serious investments by offering interest of up to 2 percent a month.
HGI awarded its employees commissions for bringing in new investors.
Investigators said HGI used the investment funds to buy five hectares of land on Phu Quoc Island where it built a ceramic workshop.
The Da Nang office was found to have attracted 61 investors who gave the firm VND14.3 billion and 531 online gold traders who put down VND15.7 billion. HGI used the money from this branch to invest in a company in the US.
Ultimately, the firm was unable to pay its investors back.
Police are investigating the case.
Minister Quang instructed relevant agencies to raise public awareness about HGI and similar ploys.
Last year, two online gold and forex companies were busted, including VGX and Khai Thai.
Online gold trading has been banned since March 30, 2010 when the government tightened controls on the precious metal to discourage its widespread trade.

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