Monday , June 17 2024

Latvian man arrested in HCMC for running loan shark rings


HCMC police have detained a man on charges of operating three loan shark companies and pocketing over VND4 trillion (US$170 million).

Latvian Aigars Plivčs, 38, is now being investigated for usury in civil transactions.

Police said Plivčs was an employee of Sun Finance Group, which is headquartered in Latvia, to manage and operate all lending activities through the two websites of tamo.vn and findo.vn.

He then hired a legal representative to establish three companies in Ho Chi Minh City: Sofi Solutions, Digital Credit, Fincap VN, and held 2% shares.

He worked as managing director for all three companies, covering everything from lending and debt collection to managing staff.

Though the three companies operate with independent legal entities and are registered with different business offices, they share the same operating system and human resources, and all employees work in the same office at a building in District 1.

Customers were invited to log into the application on their phone or use the website browser and fill in their personal information.

They were then instructed to pawn their assets such as mobile phones and vehicles.

Then the customers would make a contract to rent those assets and pay many different types of fees as listed in the contract.

Plivčs admitted to the police that the companies did not run pawn businesses but dodged the law to lend money at interest rates much higher than regulated by making customers pay fees and rents.

According to police, from April 2019 until recently, the three companies disbursed loans more than 2 million times, earning a profit of VND4 trillion, with interest rates ranging from 153% to more than 1,200% per year, which is hundreds of times higher than the legal loan interest rate.

Many customers only borrowed VND500,000 to VND20 million for one week.

So far, 29 borrowers signing contracts with the three companies have filed reports with the police.

Previously, police arrested Nguyen Thi Tuyet Suong, 55, director of Digital Credit and Truong Tuan Tai, director of FinCap VN along with seven others who work in managerial positions at the three companies.

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