Police say ACB founder and CEO arrests unrelated

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The recent arrests of an Asia Commercial Bank founder and its former CEO are unrelated, one of Vietnam's top cops has said, pleading inability to divulge more details because of their confidential nature.

In an interview to Cong an nhan dan (People's Police) newspaper, Lieutenant General Phan Van Vinh, head of the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Police Department, said Nguyen Duc Kien, 48, one of ACB's founders, was arrested for alleged illegal business activities at three of his companies.

Ly Xuan Hai, who stepped down as ACB's CEO last week, was taken into custody for "violating state regulations on economic management, resulting in serious consequences."

"The cases are being investigated and their details are categorized as national secrets, so at the moment (we) cannot provide details," Vinh said.

"However, I want to stress that the violations ... are related to two different cases."

The police have received and are still receiving many complaints about their wrongdoings, Vinh said.

There was no "pressure" during the investigation which had been ordered by the Central Guidence Board for Anti-corruption, and it was being done in "close cooperation" with central law enforcement agencies, he said.

"The wrongdoings of Nguyen Duc Kien and Ly Xuan Hai will be investigated and punished in accordance with the law to show that every citizen is equal in front of laws."

Following the arrests some people had taken advantage to "cause adverse effects on financial and banking operations," he said.

But the police and the State Bank of Vietnam had ensured the operation of the system, especially that of ACB and other banks in which Kien had stakes, he said.

The public should trust the government and the Ministry of Public Security, he said.

ACB overcomes crisis

Speaking to Thanh Nien on Sunday, Do Minh Toan, the new CEO of ACB, said after some massive withdrawals following the arrests, the bank "has overcome the tense period and is functioning normally."

Customers have regained confidence in the bank, depositing a total of VND1.5 trillion (US$70.89 million) last weekend, while deposits worth VND5.6 trillion ($264.69 million) that have already matured have not been withdrawn, he said.

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ACB's credit activities were "totally normal" too, he said.

But when asked about the damage the incident caused to the bank, he said it had happened "too fast and unexpectedly," so estimates had yet to be made, he said.

"But [at this stage] the damage is not much."

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