A pair of businessmen accused of swindling $800,000 out of an unidentified Chinese company were charged with fraud yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
According to police and court officials, the foreign company believed it was paying the suspects to secure a licence for a $6 million mining project in Mondulkiri province.
The company’s name was never mentioned in yesterday’s hearing, with a police officer involved in the arrests telling the Post that the company had specifically asked that it not be identified to spare its reputation.
Police said the two arrested businessmen faked documents from various ministries as well as the signature of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Var Sakda, vice prosecutor at the court, said yesterday that the two suspects, El Romny, director of ACICA Group, and Chin Mingxin, director of a Mondulkiri wood-processing firm, each received two charges.
“I have already charged them this morning. I have charged them with faking public documents and fraud,” she said.
“Their case has now been sent to the investigating judge for further questioning.”
She declined to comment further on the case.
Te Sam Ang, the investigating judge in charge of the case, could not be reached for comment.
A police officer at the criminal department of the Ministry of Interior who asked not to be named said yesterday that the suspects were arrested on August 24.
“They were arrested by our police based on a complaint from a foreign company … that they both cheated [the company] out of $810,000 after promising to secure a licence for a mining operation in Mondulkiri province that they could not obtain,” he said.
The money was handed over in June of this year, he added, with the suspects promising to obtain a mining licence for the company within 60 days.
“They faked letters from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations, and the signature of Prime Minister Hun Sen.”
The two suspects and their defence lawyers could not be reached for comment on this matter.