Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vathana ‘partner’ no fan of prime minister

Vathana ‘partner’ no fan of prime minister

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana, whose alleged co-investors in an offshore-incorporated company have a history of fraud and ruling party opposition.
Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana, whose alleged co-investors in an offshore-incorporated company have a history of fraud and ruling party opposition. Heng Chivoan

Vathana ‘partner’ no fan of prime minister

A notorious fraudster with whom Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana allegedly had a business relationship has turned out to be a violent critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A 2007 register for offshore-incorporated RCD International, obtained by the Post this week following the Panama Papers data leak, lists Vathana, who was previously a member of Hun Sen’s cabinet, and Ray Chhat Dam as major shareholders with 5,000 and 22,000 shares respectively.

Dam, who has been linked with a series of scams, was arrested with another shareholder, Dr Soush Saroeun, in 2010 for allegedly forging a letter of credit from HSBC, impersonating a UN agency and claiming Dam was an adviser to US presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama.

RCD International was dissolved in 2010 and since then, Dam has posted a series of anti-ruling party messages on his Facebook page. Yesterday, he posted images calling on the Vietnamese government to “take action” against Hun Sen, whose first name he twists into a pun on an offensive Khmer word.

RCD International’s second-largest shareholder, Dr Lek Bopha, also has ties to the government. His brother, Lek Sambonn, confirmed yesterday that Bopha was previously a cabinet adviser, and Sambonn heads a charity that has counted Information Minister Khieu Kantharith as a benefactor since 1999.

The justice minister yesterday denied having ever heard of Dam or Bopha and could not explain how Dam and Saroeun avoided jail time after their arrest in 2010. Saroeun yesterday said both were “cleared of wrongdoing” by the court with all charges dropped.

A government spokesman yesterday directed queries to the Anti-Corruption Unit, which was unreachable.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to the rescue

    Cambodia has won praise for allowing passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock at Preah Sihanouk port, thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s humanitarian act. In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, the director-general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • PM issues human rights circular

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday issued a circular urging officials at all levels to work more closely with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to protect human rights in Cambodia. In the circular, Hun Sen urged all institutions to collaborate closely with CHRC, including

  • Organic vegetable retailer unveils QR code scheme for origin source

    Organic vegetable retailer Natural Agriculture Village has introduced QR codes on its product packaging, which will allow consumers to see where their produce comes from. Natural Agriculture Village president Bun Sieng, who is also a member of local distributor Green Gold, told The Post on