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Vietnam to Investigate USD 658m Crypto Fraud Allegations

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 1 min read

Allegations of a cryptocurrency scam involving USD 658 million spurred the Vietnamese deputy prime minister into action, who promptly ordered an investigation.

Source: iStock/GA161076

Vuong Dinh Hue, Deputy Prime Minister, told six ministries to “quickly consider and tackle” the scam, according to a statement on the government’s website that didn’t name the coins involved. Authorities in Vietnam have already previously said that cryptocurrency transactions of any kind are illegal, but no other regulations have been forthcoming.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc followed up on this by telling the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Public Securities and other bodies to tighten the “management of activities related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency” in a directive, according to the government.

A statement on its website said, “Cryptocurrency investment and trading and raising money through initial coin offerings are evolving in a more complicated manner.”

Le Dong Phong, the police chief of Ho Chin Minh City, told Reuters, “We are gathering information about the case, but officially we haven’t launched an investigation until we receive accusations from any of the alleged victims.”

The request for investigation followed a weekend protest by dozens of people who accused Modern Tech JSC, a company that raised money from token sales of Ifan and Pincoin cryptocurrency, of “the largest ever cryptocurrency fraud involving 15 trillion dong,” equivalent to USD 658 million.

This is only the latest among a sea of fraud reports in the lightly regulated market for initial coin offerings (ICOs). ICOs have been plagued by reports of wrongdoing, to the point where U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton said on Tuesday that he was surprised by the levels of fraud that surround ICOs, Bloomberg reported.