Vietnam: An Arrest With Financial, Political Effects

Aug 22, 2012 | 12:00 GMT

Vietnam: An Arrest With Financial, Political Effects
Nguyen Duc Kien in Hanoi on Feb. 16



Vietnam's General Police Department for Crime Prevention confirmed Aug. 21 that Nguyen Duc Kien, one of the country's most powerful tycoons and founder of Asia Commercial Bank, was arrested a day earlier. Another senior leader of the bank reportedly was also arrested, though the news report carried by Nguoi Lao Dong was removed shortly after it appeared.  

According to media reports, Kien is accused of "wrong doings in economic activities," though specific reasons have not been disclosed. Rumors had been circulating that he had manipulated his personal relationships to obtain funds from the banking system — even the State Bank of Vietnam — in order to acquire numerous other banks and powerful companies. Besides founding Vietnam's largest private bank and serving as deputy chairman of the Vietnam Professional Football Joint Stock Co., Kien had been a major shareholder in banks including Kien Long Commercial Bank, Dai A Commercial Bank, VietBank and Eximbank and held large shares of a number of enterprises.

The arrest of a tycoon could shake confidence in Vietnam's financial management and expose political infighting....

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