A former adviser to Senate President Chea Sim was sentenced along with three other defendants to between five and seven years yesterday for defrauding a Chinese tycoon out of $810,000 and promising to supply a forged mining permit.
The four were involved in a conspiracy to defraud Khao Yun Dy, chairman of the Khmer Holding Group and Khmer International Media Group, by faking a $6 million licence for a mining operation in Mondulkiri province between 2012 and 2013, according to Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Kor Vandy.
El Romny, 42, the director of ACICA Group and a former adviser to Sim, was sentenced to seven years along with Chen Min Xin, 45, a Chinese national who directed a wood processing firm in Mondulkiri, and government adviser Pol Sokha, who was tried in absentia.
Another suspect, Sun Sopheap, 45, a former official with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, was sentenced in absentia to five years for being an “accomplice in the faking of public documents and fraud”.
The convicts were ordered to pay a total of $550,000 in damages and compensation by the court, Vandy said.
“It is ordered to seek for arrest Pol Sokha and Sun Sopheap, that they be brought to jail at Prey Sar prison to serve the term of their sentences in accordance with court’s verdict,” he added.
Lieutenant Colonel Lor Sokha, chief of the Serious Crimes Unit at the Ministry of Interior, said Sokha and Sopheap escaped during a police sting operation at Yun Dy’s office in Phnom Penh on August 24 last year.
“They were arrested at Okhna Khao Yun Dy’s office when they came to get money for their work in securing the licence for a mining operation in Mondulkiri,” he said.
To get the licence, he added, they forged letters from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Assembly-Senate Relations, and the signature of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Romny yesterday denied involvement in the fraud, claiming that Sokha was the sole responsible party in securing the forgeries.