The former manager of Canadia Bank’s credit section has admitted to stealing $2.3 million from the bank’s accounts, the suspect’s lawyer said Tuesday, in what is one of the largest embezzlement schemes ever undertaken in Cambodia’s nascent banking industry.
The testimony from Yeth Sopheaktra, 30, to municipal court investigating Judge Suos Sam Ath contradicts police reports, which said that she had withdrawn money from accounts at the ABA and SBC banks before depositing the money at Canadia Bank.
According to those police reports, Ms. Sopheaktra allegedly masterminded a six-month-long scheme in which she and at least three accomplices used five fraudulent credit cards to withdraw up to $100,000 a week from ATMs in Phnom Penh. …
The inside job orchestrated by Ms. Sopheaktra amounted to possibly the largest fraud that Cambodia’s banking sector has ever seen, said Stephen Higgins, the former CEO of ANZ Royal Bank.
“It is by far the biggest fraud I have heard of in Cambodia, but most banks around the world have staff fraud of some description. It becomes the cost of doing business, but you hope it is not this big,” he said.
Mr. Higgins added that it was “extraordinary” if it is true that Ms. Sopheaktra was able to steal $2.3 million from five accounts using credit cards before being detected. …
Eang Mengleng and Colin Meyn
The former manager of Canadia Bank’s credit section, along with two accomplices at the bank, were charged Thursday with theft and forgery for allegedly embezzling about $2.3 million from ABA and SBC banks, according to municipal court and police officials.
“The deputy [municipal court] prosecutor has charged them with theft and forged documents after questioning. We have charged them and sent them to prison for pretrial detention,” said municipal court investigating Judge Suos Sam Ath.
However, Babu Ram Gyawali, chief financial officer of ABA Bank, denied that any money had been stolen from the accounts of ABA clients.
“This is wrong information. From ABA Bank, we have not lost any money,” he said.
Canadia Bank CEO Michael Lor declined to comment on the case. …
Stephen Higgins, former CEO of ANZ Royal Bank, said that $2.3 million was a remarkably high sum to be stolen in Cambodia’s relatively small banking market, adding that it was highly unlikely that the entirety of the ill-gotten money could have come from only five bank accounts. …
Singapore Banking Corporation Ltd. (SBC Bank), a leading commercial bank in Cambodia, signed a memorandum of understanding with JCB International Co., Ltd. (JCBI), the international operations subsidiary of JCB, for the issuance of JCB cards in Cambodia.
A ceremony to commemorate the milestone moment was held in Phnom Penh on Monday, attended by Neav Chanthana, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Yuji Kumamaru, Japan Ambassador to Cambodia, along with other prominent figures.
SBC will begin accepting JCB cards in all SBC bank merchants by the end of 2013, and plans to launch the card issuance over the next few years. …
The acceptance of JCB cards will open up a world of financial freedom to JCB cardmembers visiting Cambodia for business or pleasure whereby JCB cardmembers can use their cards at over 500 SBC Bank merchants as well as access over 100 SBC Bank ATMs by the end of 2013.
SBC Bank is also proud to be the first JCB eCommerce acquirer in Cambodia to provide online payment gateway service which would benefit Cambodia’s growing business and tourism sectors, he [Executive Chairman of SBC Bank Andy Kun] said in the [Japan Corporate News press] release. …
Mr. Kimihisa Imada, Deputy President of JCBI believes that Cambodia is “strategically important market for JCB global business expansion” and “one of the most popular destinations for tourist.”
“Tourists from Asian region such as Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, where we are aggressively expanding JCB cardmember base, are expected to increase because of its geographic closeness. I believe this partnership will further increase the level of cardmember convenience, and contribute to the tourism in the market,” Imada said in the press release. …
The Cambodia Herald
Cathay United Bank, the banking arm of Cathay Financial Holding Co., has agreed to acquire a 70 percent stake in a Cambodia bank, the financial holding company said Thursday.
With the acquisition, Cathay United Bank will become the largest shareholder in Singapore Banking Corp. Ltd. (SBC Bank), while the original Singaporean investors will retain the remaining 30 percent stake…
Tien Yupin and Frances, P. 9