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Run on bank shares as sports identity arrested

Update: August, 21/2012 - 18:28
Nguyen Duc Kien was arrested yesterday in Ha Noi.—File Photo

HA NOI– Nguyen Duc Kien, a leading financial investor and sporting identity, was arrested yesterday as fraud police held investigations into his business operations.

The news led to a major sell-off of shares in the bank he helped found, the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), leading the State Bank of Vietnam to intervene and re-assure investors.

Kien, 48, who is also manager of Ha Noi Football Club, was taken into custody in Ha Noi.

His arrest was confirmed by an officer of the Ministry of Public Security's Anti-Crime Department.

The ministry said Kien's seizure related to illegal businesses in three companies which he chaired. They were B&B Commercial and Investment Company, Ha Noi ACB Investment Joint Stock Company and Ha Noi Asia Financial Investment Ltd Co.

Yesterday, investigators searched Kien's house in Ha Noi Tay Hoa District and removed a quantity of materials.

His seizure brought a sharp fall on both national stock exchange as general investors sold-up their shares on a large scale, causing this morning's VN-index and HNX-Index to fall about 5 per cent.

"This is the biggest fall since the stock markets opened in Viet Nam," said Nguyen The Minh, an analyst for Ban Viet Stock Company.

On Ha Noi Stock Exchange, stocks of ACB were also sold en masse at floor price of VN#24,100 (US$1.15) per share.

This led the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) to later assure depositors at the ACB that it was keeping a close watch on the situation to ensure that the banking system remained safe.

Kien was vice-chairman of the ACB managerial board and a founding member.

The man commonly known as Football Manager Kien is a stakeholder in many banks in Viet Nam, including Sacombank (STB) and Eximbank (EIB).

While, officials from STB and EIB claimed Kien's activities had not affected them, the shares in both banks dropped to the floor – along with ACB, Vietinbank, VietComBank and the Military Bank.

Kien also controls investments in tourism, garments and hotels.

In sport, Kien was among the founding members of the Viet Nam Professional Football Jointstock Company (VPF) which was established late last year to monitor V-League and major football tournaments.

He also put forward a proposal to start a tournament for Viet Nam's best football clubs named Super Liga. - VNS

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