A senior government official has said construction on the US$1 billion airport project in Siem Reap was still on track despite the recent arrest of a key person in charge of the project.
Plans and designs for the New Siem Reap International Airport had been submitted to the government and construction was scheduled to begin as early as next month, Council of Ministers secretary of state and NSRIA Steering Committee chairman Tek Reth Samrach claimed.
NSRIA CEO Lee Tae-hwan was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for involvement with fraudulent loans at the Busan Savings Bank, local media reported.
The NSRIA project was a joint venture between two South Korean companies, Camco Airport Co Ltd and Lees A&A Co Ltd.
The assets of Busan Savings Bank, which backed the airport and the real estate mega-project Camko City, were forwarded to the government-owned Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation last year, according to Ernst Lee, at Korea’s Financial Services Commission.
The bank’s toxic assets would be sold off, Lee told the Post last December, and a legal battle between shareholders is reportedly being battled out in Phnom Penh courts.
Despite the reports of fraud and the dismantling of the bank, Tek Reth Samrach insisted plans for the airport would continue.
“Of course, I heard that they had some financial difficulties to deal with, but that’s an internal problem. This is not an issue for the NSRIA project, as we have the liberty of finding another partner if the current arrangement falls through,” Tek Reth Samrach said.
“However, at this point in time, they have not informed us of any issues, and we’re carrying on with the project as it is.”