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

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections

    A Malaysian parliamentarian raised concerns in his country on Wednesday about Cambodia’s July 29 national elections and urged his government to clarify its position on the subject, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on Thursday. Wong Chen, a member of the People’s

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not