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Court upholds decision in fraud case

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HANOI (Reuters) – A Vietnamese court has upheld a key judgement in the country’s biggest-ever fraud case, a lawyer for one of the victims told Reuters, in a trial that has spotlighted Vietnam’s ability to tackle financial crime at a time when foreign banks are heeding government calls to invest.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s High Court ruled on Wednesday to uphold a judgment that the central perpetrator of a 4.9 trillion dong ($215 million) theft is responsible for returning some of the stolen money, rather than the individual’s employer at the time, state-controlled VietinBank.

The ruling comes as financial firms such as investment banks and global buyout funds flock to Vietnam, hoping to capitalise on a period of privatisation and capital-raising deals in the fast-growing emerging Southeast Asian economy.

The chief executive of one victim, depositor Saigonbank Berjaya Securities JSC (SBBS) – a unit of Malaysia’s Berjaya Corporation Bhd – also confirmed yesterday’s verdict.

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