An Australian man claiming to be an executive of a bizarre international finance organisation has fled Cambodia, days after two of his associates were arrested and charged with forging documents alleging connections with HSBC Bank, the United States government and the United Nations.
Keith Scott, the “chief of cabinet” for the Office of International Treasury Control, left his serviced apartment in Chamkarmon district’s Tuol Svay Prey II commune last Wednesday, building staff said, after OITC chairman Ray C Dam was charged with forgery on Monday by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Dam was arrested along with Soush Saroeun, the executive managing director of local property firm and OITC subsidiary Asia Real Property, or ARP-OITC.
Scott said in an email yesterday that he was not involved with ARP-OITC, though he defended Dam, who is identified in OITC promotional materials as owner of the “Global Debt Facility” and economic adviser to United States presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush.
“I have travelled all over the world while working with Dr Dam as Special Envoy on his authority,” Scott said.
“If Dr Dam is imprisoned or if Dr Dam leaves Cambodia, the result is exactly the same, there is no point my being there.”
The OITC claims to have been granted special authority by the US and the United Nations, claims that have since been denied by American and UN officials. The group says it is “the largest single owner of gold and platinum bullion in the World”, claiming to control top secret assets and “treasure” all over the world.
Staff at Scott’s apartment said he had lived there since February, and had already paid rent for the next several months prior to leaving town.
Neighbours remembered him as a talkative and eccentric tenant who boasted of plans to buy the Himawari Hotel and finance a high-speed railway stretching from China to Malaysia.
“He told me a lot of bullshit and I’d pretty well nod my head in agreement,” one Western resident said, asking to remain anonymous. “I stopped talking to him when he started on the billions of dollars he was dealing in.”
Chhay Sinarith, director of the internal security department at the Ministry of Interior, said no further suspects were wanted in the OITC case as of yesterday.
“The court is investigating this case to search for additional people involved,” he said. “If the court finds more suspects, we will make arrests.”
Scott, who said he had used Phnom Penh as his “home base” for 15 years, declined to state his present whereabouts yesterday. Neighbours said he had told them he was bound for the Philippines.
In 2006, Scott traveled to Fiji on behalf of Dam and OITC, offering US$6 billion to be used toward the creation of a bank for local landowners.
Fijian police commissioner Andrew Hughes later said he was “profoundly suspicious” of Scott’s offer, suggesting it could be an “advance fee scam”. Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said “no one in their right mind” would inject so much money into such a small economy, the Fiji Times reported.