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Vietnamese police search offices of the largest pawnshop operator

HANOI: Hundreds of police officers in Vietnam on Monday raided the Ho Chi Minh City offices of F88 Investment JSC, the country’s largest pawn shop operator, after public complaints surfaced over “administrative abuses,” the Ministry of Public Security said.

In some of the 830 stores operated by F88, it was found that customers had been overcharged with additional fees, the police-led ministry told the online newspaper VnExpress reported that the company had used “blackmail methods” to collect debts.

“Provincial-level police forces have recently dismantled several organized crime rings of debt collectors,” the statement said, adding that hundreds of thousands of people had been threatened with paying off their debts.

F88 announced on Tuesday that they were working closely with the authorities.

“According to initial information, the authorities collected information for investigations against an F88 employee,” it said in a statement.

According to some media reports, the company was planning an IPO with a target market capitalization of $1 billion.

Its shareholders include Vietnam-focused private equity fund Mekong Capital. F88 announced last week that it had raised $50 million in new funding from Mekong Capital and the Vietnam-Oman Investment Fund.

Mekong Capital said it had been informed by F88 that its operations were following applicable procedures and regulations and that F88 would take strict disciplinary action in the event of a violation.

“Currently, F88 is actively coordinating and providing information with the authorities to investigate and resolve the case,” Mekong said in a statement, adding that it had not been informed of any irregularities.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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