Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ANZ distances itself from Cambodian partner

ANZ distances itself from Cambodian partner

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
ANZ Royal Bank signage at a local branch in Phnom Penh. POST STAFF

ANZ distances itself from Cambodian partner

Australian financial institution ANZ has distanced itself from the Royal Group, its local partner in a Cambodian joint venture bank, following police reports linking the group to illegal logging activities.

A report published by Cambodia’s National Police this week accused Royal Group, owned by prominent tycoon Kith Meng, of laundering illegal timber through the Lower Sesan II hydropower project. It accused the conglomerate of using its licence to clear the reservoir area as cover for its subsidiary’s laundering of timber from elsewhere.

The Royal Group has denied the claims. Royal Group owns a 45 percent stake in ANZ Royal Bank, a joint venture with ANZ that operates 15 branches with over $1 billion in assets.

Stephen Ries, spokesman for ANZ, said in a statement yesterday that the bank and its local subsidiary had no involvement or financial ties to the Royal Group’s activities.

“To the extent that the Royal Group – a company in which ANZ has no financial or other interest is involved in dam projects, that is a matter for the Royal Group,” he said.

“While the Royal Group is ANZ’s minority partner in ANZ Royal Bank, we can confirm ANZ and ANZ Royal Bank provides no funding to dam projects in Cambodia whatsoever.”

ANZ Royal Bank previously faced scrutiny for its involvement with a sugar plantation belonging to ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat after the operation was linked to land disputes and child labour scandals.

The bank severed its ties with the company in 2014 when reports of wrongdoing at the plantation emerged.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group