Business
Vietnam starts legal crackdown following Liberty Reserve case
  • By Bich Diep-Hoanh San-Nguyen Hien | dtinews.vn | May 31, 2013 10:33 PM

Vetnam is carrying out investigations into the operations of the digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve, which has recently been accused of money laundering by a number of countries.

17 countries have started legal procedures on the Costa Rican-based company Liberty Reserve after the US accused it of running money laundering schemes worth USD6 billion. Leaders of the company have also been arrested.

Liberty Reserve was one of the world's most-used digital currencies and has also been used in Vietnam for several years via many websites such as libertyreserve.com.vn, libertyreserve.net.vn, autoexchange.net and vnexchange.

Thach Sanh Company, operator of the website Vnexchange, said they provided the exchange services for many types of digital currencies in Vietnam such as BitCoin and Ngan Luong. Customers must transfer cash to the sellers' bank account. After receiving the money, the seller will then transfer the digital currencies to the customers at the rate of one LR for VND21,000.

Many customers in Vietnam lost large amounts of cash and digital money following the arrests.

 

 Libertyreseve.com.vn blocked

Though autoexchange.net reported some 'troubles with Liberty Reserve' on May 26, the notice was immediately deleted. Currently, many websites that provide exchange services for the LR besides libertyreseve.com.vn are still in operation. Previously, they posted a notification claiming 'we are all victims'. They have refused to compensate their customers.

The Department of Hi-tech Crime Prevention and Suppression under the Ministry of Public Security and the Anti-Money Laundering Department of the State Bank of Vietnam have co-operated to carry out investigations into Vietnamese banks' involvement in the scheme.

The chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission, Vu Viet Ngoan said, "We don't have any evidence pointing to Vietnamese banks' complicity. However, it's necessary to tighten monitoring over transactions. Vietnam has also issued laws on money laundering to show our commitment to our neighbors, especially in the context of a very complicated global financial environment."

A representative from one bank said that when customers set up such transaction accounts they are treated as normal customers, but investigations will take place in cases where continual large transfers of funds are detected.

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