Police are probing a former minister and ex-chairman of Vietnam's Asia Commercial Bank, state media said Thursday, as a scandal sparked by the arrest of the bank's multi-millionaire founder grows.
Tran Xuan Gia, who was minister for planning and investment from 1996 to 2002 and the ACB's chairman from 2008 until he resigned last Wednesday, is being kept under house arrest, Lao Dong newspaper said on its website.
The 73-year-old is being investigated alongside three other deputy chairman at ACB for their alleged involvement in illegally approving the deposit of $34 million into other banks, the report added.
The $34 million was then reportedly stolen by other bankers, at least two of whom have also been arrested on suspicion of banking fraud, the report said without giving further details.
Gia and the three others have not been taken into custody as they have "good personal records, (made an) honest confession and (provided) active cooperation with investigators", the report said, quoting police sources.
Rumours of a police probe of Gia have exploded on Vietnamese-language blogs and state-run media since he resigned from the bank last week.
ACB, which counts global banking giant Standard Chartered as one of its "strategic partners", has been under intense scrutiny for the last month.
Both its founder and a former director general were arrested in August for economic crimes, triggering a run on deposits and forcing Vietnam's central bank to provide emergency liquidity to the institution.
ACB ex-head Ly Xuan Hai was taken into police custody, accused of "deliberate wrongdoings causing serious consequences", while multi-millionaire and ACB founder Nguyen Duc Kien is being investigated for the same offence as well as "fraudulence", which on its own carries a maximum life sentence.
Observers warned that the widening scandal could spook already jittery foreign investors, particularly in Vietnam's fragile banking sector.
Experts have widely interpreted Kien's arrest as part of bitter infighting within the ruling communist party.