FEDERAL Bureau of Investigations agents are probing a Hong Kong company which they believe may have been set up to funnel funds from Vietnam to US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, according to reports. As more details emerge of the investigation into Mr Brown's alleged links with Hanoi, US News and World Report is carrying a story in its forthcoming issue alleging that the Hong Kong company was set up by go-between Nguyen Van Hao. The report says FBI agents are looking at the role the company was to play in paying about US$700,000 (HK$5.4 million) to Mr Brown in return for his help in ending the US trade embargo and promoting trade links. A federal grand jury has also been presented with allegations by Mr Hao's former partner, Ly Tran Binh, that a Hong Kong bank account was to be used to receive the payments from Vietnam, which would then be sent to another bank in Singapore for collection. The New York Times last night quoted administration officials as saying evidence had been found that preparations were made to set up the network of accounts by the Vietnamese. However, since the original allegations surfaced two months ago, no evidence has emerged that Mr Brown has ever received any payments. His lawyer recently admitted that Mr Brown did meet Mr Hao three times, but said that after he was appointed to his Cabinet post in January this year, he took the matter no further. It has also been reported that Mr Hao, a former deputy prime minister in South Vietnam before the fall of Saigon, sent faxes from his Florida home to Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet's office, describing his initial meetings with Mr Brown as ''positive''. Mr Binh was Mr Hao's business partner in Florida before they split in February - because, Mr Binh claims, he objected to the ethics of the alleged deal. He has said he and Mr Hao set things up last year by meeting the Prime Minister in Hanoi. US President Bill Clinton last week responded to the pressure on Mr Brown by saying he stood by him and that the Commerce Secretary had assured him he had done nothing wrong.