Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Finance firm suspects seek pre-trial release

via CAAI

Monday, 24 January 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Two executives from a dubious international finance organisation who were charged with forgery last month are seeking release from detention while the court continues its investigations.

Chuon Sunleng, deputy president of the Appeal Court, said yesterday that the suspects – Ray C Dam and Soush Saroeun – would seek out-of-prison detention at a court appearance scheduled for January 27.

“The main purpose of the hearing is to consider the request of the two suspects to stay outside [of prison] during the investigations,” he said.

Chuon Sophal, Dam’s lawyer, said his client sought release because of how long investigations were taking.

“I noted that the court has worked slowly in investigating my client’s case,” said Chuon Sophal. “Therefore, I would like to appeal to the court to authorise my client to stay outside detention during the investigations.”

Last month, the suspects were charged with forging documents alleging connections to HSBC Bank, the United States government and the United Nations. Ray C Dam, the chairman of ARP-OITC Group Co Ltd, and Soush Saroeun, the firm’s executive managing director, were charged under four articles from the Kingdom’s new penal code, which went into effect in December.

The case follows an October report in The Post that investigated ARP-OITC and its parent company, the Office of International Treasury Control, questioning the groups’ grandiose claims and raising concerns over possible fraud.

Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that while Dam was being arrested, he mention his alleged credentials.

“While being arrested, Ray C Dam said that he was an advisor to US President Barack Obama and also an advisor to the president of Cambodia’s senate,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Chang Sinath said yesterday that a hearing date for the case had not been set.

“We are still investigating [the suspects] and we cannot say more about them now,” she said.

Two days after the suspects were arrested, an Australian national who claimed to be the “chief of cabinet” for OITC fled the country.

OITC officials have previously been implicated in financial scandals in Ecuador, Fiji and the United Kingdom.

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