National Bank set to boost bet on Cambodia even as country faces mounting scrutiny on human rights

Plan to dive deeper into country's 'underbanked' market comes amid mounting criticism of Cambodia’s government — including from Canada.

National Bank of Canada is preparing to increase its bet on Cambodia this year, a decision that comes as the Southeast Asian country is facing increasing scrutiny and potential economic sanctions over its government’s human-rights record.

Montreal-based National, Canada’s sixth-largest lender, owns 90 per cent of ABA Bank of Cambodia, a more than 20-year-old financial institution that was formerly known as the Advanced Bank of Asia.

A former head of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, Damir Karassayev, owns the remaining 10 per cent of ABA, although that could soon change.

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