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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers accuse firm of taking some $60,000

Villagers accuse firm of taking some $60,000

Over 100 members of the Prov ethnic community in Ratanakkkiri province have filed a complaint with a local rights group claiming to have been defrauded for tens of thousands of dollars by a broker for an international investment firm.

In Phav village, located in Taveng district’s Taveng Krom commune, 104 residents sold their cattle, chicken, rice crops and even borrowed funds in 2013 to invest in JDIFX – a company registered with the country’s Ministry of Commerce since 2012 – after a local broker for the company offered 10 per cent interest per month, according to the victims and a provincial coordinator with the rights group Adhoc.

Community member Phoeuk Truok, 27, said yesterday that the broker, Thin Bunthan, used his home as a company outpost and influenced people to invest money in the company.

“I sold a female buffalo, and other people sold their chickens and rice. Others borrowed money.

In total, there was $60,200 deposited,” he said yesterday.

The company made the interest available to the community members a few times, but eventually ceased doing so, drawing scepticism from residents.

When they asked Bunthan about it, he apparently removed the company’s banner from his home and said he was no longer responsible.

“We are not highly educated, so we whole-heartedly believed him,” Truok said. “I lost more than $2,000 alone.”

To find assistance, the 104 residents filed a complaint with Adhoc on Friday.

Adhoc coordinator Chhay Thy said his group investigated the issue and is planning to forward its findings to the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court today.

“It’s due to [the community’s] belief in the broker,” he said.

“They saw the company’s inauguration ceremony, which many excellencies joined, and the company was recognised by the ministry and the government, so the villagers put up a lot of money.”

According to documents provided by Adhoc, JDIFX Asia Ltd’s office is located in Chamkarmon district in Phnom Penh.

However, Thin Bunthan said yesterday he was not the broker, and was a victim of the company himself.

He said that he had not been compensated and that the company went bankrupt following issues with its partner, JDI Global Limited.

“Both companies are filing complaints against each other,” he said.

JDIFX is under the management of Soy Bunthorn, and the company was officially inaugurated in March 2013.

Bunthorn could not be reached for comment.

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