The trial of British businessman Gregg Fryett and his Cambodian associates continued yesterday as Phnom Penh Municipal Court questioned a lawyer over allegedly faking public documents to help his co-defendants buy land, clear state forests and launder money.
Ty Pov, 45, former legal counsel for International Green Energy, is accused of trying to legitimise maps and master plans for Jatropha plantations, which had fake stamps and signatures of public officials.
The signatures included those of the Svay Chek district governor, the Slor Kram commune chief and the head of the Banteay Meanchey Agriculture Department.
The documents were allegedly meant to help Pov’s co-defendants, including Fryett, chairman of IGE’s board, clear 6,000 hectares of land in Banteay Meanchey between 2010 and 2012.
Pov yesterday denied he had produced any fake documents, saying that he got the master plan from IGE via its director, Cambodian-American Um Sam Ang, and land maps from General Hanh Chamrong, who remains at large.
“They asked me to use these documents in making the company’s land legalisations,” said Pov. “But I did not know that they were faked. If I had known they were fake documents, I would not have used them.”
Pov said he had previously seen the land maps on Chamrong’s computer.
Authorities have accused Fryett and his associates of selling British pensioners a stake in land for Cambodian biofuel plantations, then setting up a firm to launder money through an array of fake land deals.