Vietnam’s Stocks Drop Most in Two Weeks Amid Reports of Arrests

Vietnam’s stocks dropped, dragging the benchmark index down the most in two weeks, amid media reports of more arrests in the finance industry.

The benchmark VN Index (VNINDEX) fell 2.3 percent at the 11:30 a.m. break in Ho Chi Minh City, heading for the biggest decline since Aug. 27. Police had arrested Nguyen Duy Hung, head of Saigon Invest Group’s representative office in Hanoi, alleging he appropriated secret government documents, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said on its website on Sept. 8. Police also arrested Nguyen Thi Bich Trang, an employee of Tan Tao Investment Industry Joint-Stock Co. (ITA), according to the report.

The VN Index has tumbled 11 percent since Aug. 20, when Nguyen Duc Kien, a founder of Asia Commercial Bank, was detained for what the central bank called conducting “business illegally.” The lender’s former Chief Executive Officer Ly Xuan Hai was subsequently arrested for alleged economic mismanagement.

“Investors now are very sensitive to any arrests, no matter who and from which companies,” said Nguyen Duy Phong, a Ho Chi Minh City-based analyst at Viet Capital Securities. “Some investors sold shares today as they are worried that there may be more arrests.”

Tan Tao slumped 3.5 percent to 5,500 dong, heading for the lowest close since Jan. 31. Nguyen Tuan Minh, deputy general director of Tan Tao, confirmed Trang’s arrest when reached by Bloomberg News, saying the company’s board will meet “soon” to discuss the incident and to consider whether to assign her a lawyer.

Dang Thanh Tam, chairman of Saigon Invest, was not reachable on his mobile phone. Nguyen Tien Luc, deputy head of the Police Bureau for Crime Prevention, did not answer calls to his mobile phone.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Nguyen Kieu Giang in Hanoi at giang1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

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