Details of Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana’s alleged offshore investments remained murky yesterday as the firm that registered the company in which he is said to have owned shares declined to divulge any information about the company’s activities or shareholders.
On Sunday, international news outlets began releasing details gleaned from a trove of over 11.5 million documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm renowned for its secrecy and its prolific registration of clients’ businesses in offshore tax havens around the world.
Among the documents were records of RCD International Limited, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2007, with Vong Vathana listed as a shareholder. RCD’s registration paperwork was filed by Hong Kong-based Corporate Management Services Limited (CMS).
CMS managing director Raymond Choi said yesterday he had no recollection of RCD or Vong Vathana, adding that standard practice dictates all paperwork on the company would have been destroyed long ago.
An investigation last year by US non-profit Global Finance Integrity determined the majority of $15 billion in illicit capital outflows from Cambodia between 2004 and 2013 were laundered through offshore businesses.
Offshore companies can have legitimate uses, such as legal tax avoidance. However, asked yesterday what legitimate purpose a senior politician might have investing in one, Choi replied: “No idea, I’ve no idea.”
Vong Vathana has denied he has any overseas investments and maintained he had never heard of RCD. Justice Ministry chief of cabinet Sorn Sophorn declined to comment yesterday evening.