Police Investigating Third Suspect in Mondolkiri Mining Fraud

Police said Thursday they are investigating the possibility of a third suspect who has been implicated in a fraud and forgery case over a mining deal, for which a Cambodian businessman and a Chinese associate are already awaiting trial.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday charged Al Romny, 41, the chairman of ACICA Group, and Chinese national Chin Mongxin, 45, with fraud and using forged documents after an unknown complainant claimed they had lost $810,000 to the pair in a deal to purchase a mining license in Mondolkiri province.

Lour Sokha, an officer in the penal police department at the Interior Ministry, said the police report sent to the court in the case included a reference to another suspect, and that police are investigating the lead.

Mr. Sokha declined to comment in detail.

But in a message from ACICA Group’s email account, an administrator who did not give their name said that Mr. Romny had told the company that a middleman was responsible for the fraud and that he had informed the police about the man.

“[Mr. Romny] mentioned that due to his busy schedule, he had appointed an individual to perform the task of getting the necessary government approvals for the Mondulkiri Mining Project License,” the administrator said.

“He has also paid the necessary fees in-full to this individual for the work. This individual has provided to him, all the approval letters which in turn, he had given them to the recipient company without verifying them first and unknowingly aware that they were fake documents.”

ACICA said Wednesday that Mr. Romny was acting on his own in the mining deal. The group’s website claims a number of other business ventures in Cambodia, including a water and wastewater privatization project and a massive plantation in Koh Kong province.

The administrator declined to comment on the company’s other activities.

“Our apology as we are unable to divulge our business affairs with any third party due to Non-Disclosure Agreements already signed with our venture partners,” the message says.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.