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Ponzi scheme suspects’ cases sent to court: ACU

Three alleged members of a money-laundering operation worth more than $11 million who were arrested earlier this year in Phnom Penh have had their cases sent to court and are now awaiting trial, Om Yentieng, head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, said yesterday.

The three suspects – two Cambodian-Americans and a British citizen – were arrested in January and March by anti-corruption police in the capital.

Greg Thomas Fryett, 46, from the UK, was arrested in March after ACU officers linked him to a $36 million Ponzi scheme involving a deal to buy land from the former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan.

Cambodia began investigating Fryett after the UK Serious Fraud Office froze his assets in February 2012. Fryett was accused of selling pensioners in Britain a stake in land in Cambodian biofuel plantations to benefit the directors of a company he worked for, Sustainable Agro Energy.

Yesterday’s announcement saw Fryett accused of setting up Land of Cabon Credited Farming Plc, a firm established in Banteay Meanchey’s Svay Chek district to launder money through a complicated array of fake land deals in the Kingdom.

The firm is alleged to have transacted deals with British clients worth more than $11 million and including about 800,000 hectares of land.

“Thomas faked documents for establishing 13 NGOs under the company and covered approximately 800,000 hectares of land, but he sold only about 8,000 hectares using the fake documents,” he added.

The two Cambodian-Americans – Soeun Denny and Um San Ang – were arrested in January in the first move by the authorities on the group as part of their two-year investigation.

“If they are found guilty, they will be jailed for between five and 10 years,” Yentieng said.

The alleged scam involved a paper trail with hundreds of pages of fake contracts, Yentieng said, which could lead to further charges of falsifying documents being brought against the men.

Yentieng added that about 10 other people are currently under investigation by the ACU as part of the same case.



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