Vietnam bank tycoon faces fresh charges, two accomplices arrested

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A high-profile founder of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) who was arrested last month for alleged illegal business activities will face more charges, and two of his subordinates have also been taken into custody, investigators say.

News website Dan Tri Tuesday quoted the Ministry of Public Security's investigators as saying Nguyen Duc Kien, 48, would be investigated for charges of fraud and "deliberately violating state regulations resulting in serious consequences."

Kien was arrested on August 20 following allegations of violations at three companies where he served as a board chairman - B&B Trade and Investment Joint Stock Company, ACB Hanoi Investment Joint Stock Company and Asia Hanoi Financial Investment Ltd., Co.

Tran Ngoc Thanh, director of ACB Hanoi Investment Joint Stock Company, and Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, the company's chief accountant, have also been arrested as suspected accomplices, investigators said.

Earlier, three days after Kien's arrest, Ly Xuan Hai, former CEO of ACB, was also taken into custody for allegedly "violating state regulations on economic management, resulting in serious consequences."

In an interview with the Cong an nhan dan (People's Police) newspaper, Lieutenant General Phan Van Vinh, director of the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Police Department, said the two arrests were unrelated. However, he refused to give more details about the cases, saying that they were under investigation.

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Following the arrests ACB shares took a dive and customers rushed to withdraw money from the bank.

In response to the chaos, Vietnamese banks, including the State Bank of Vietnam, pledged they would support ACB, and the bank's leaders claimed soon after that they had overcome the crisis.

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