Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Golden mystery deepens

Golden mystery deepens

Golden mystery deepens

MORE than 3.6 tons of Cambodia's gold reserves - and perhaps as much as 8.6 tons

- has disappeared since the 1960's, according to the former National Bank of Cambodia

Director-General Heng Kim-Y.

"I am afraid that the successive Cambodian governments have withdrawn more than

the 12.4 tonnes you mentioned [in the May 8 article] ," Kim-Y wrote to the Phnom

Penh Post May 13.

The Post revealed that the Cambodian government has successfully claimed

12.4 tonnes of gold from the Swiss-based Bank of International Settlements in an

un-publicized deal. But Heng Kim-Y - who was the NBC governor in the 1960s - said

that the government seemed to have used up much more than that.

"At the end of the sixties, the gold belonging to Cambodia was more than 21

tons, of which 16 tons [were] deposited at BIS," Kim-Y wrote.

He said 5 tons were deposited with a bank other than the BIS, and that Cambodia had

also had $200 million in cash invested offshore.

Kim-Y said that he had relevant internal NBC documents to prove his claim, but says

he will show them "only to the legal government of Cambodia".

He added that the International Monetary Fund should easily be able to confirm the

details - including dates and the payee - about any withdrawal of gold, as the central

bank was obliged to declare all such transactions.

Chhang Song, former Information Minister in late 1974, said the president of the

Khmer Republic, Lon Nol, tried getting the gold in 1975 to finance the war against

the Khmer Rouge, but failed. "President Lon Nol went to the Swiss bank in 1975

to withdraw that money in order to reorganize his regime to fight and get the power

from the KR, but he got nothing," Chhang said.

He said the gold had been a tightly-kept secret, as those who knew about it were

hoping to keep some of it for themselves. "Very few Cambodian ministers knew

about that gold story," he said. "If they knew, they tried to have it,"

Chhang said.

Some of the gold came from the finance section of the NBC, and some from the a French-Cambodian

rubber company called Cambodia Co., Chhang said. Some of the gold was also reserved

for the use of Royal Palace, he added.

Kim-Y said that the gold was not a foreign reserve, but rather an asset of the NBC

that "belongs to the Cambodian people".

"It is very exceptional that the Government [can] use the gold detained by the

central bank for budget purposes... If so, the national money will depreciate and

the national economy will collapse irremediably," he wrote. He added that then-Prince

Sihanouk had forbidden the use of the gold during his regime.

"Words like secret deal, negotiated settlement, victory and so on ... do not

suit central bank ethics at all. Any secret negotiated settlement is illegal."

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted