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

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Khmer influence growing in Hollywood

    The rare success of The Cleaning Lady – an American TV series which stars Cambodian-French Hollywood actress Elodie Yung – sheds some light on Asian immigrants to the US, yet a significant representation gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) exists both on screen and behind

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of