Businessman Detained Over $2.5M Fraud Case

A businessman was arrested and charged with fraud in Phnom Penh on Friday on the back of a complaint alleging he had cheated an unnamed plaintiff out of $2.5 million, court and police officials said Sunday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Keo Mony said Sok Rathorn was summoned for questioning over the alleged fraud, but did not show up at court. The judge then issued a warrant for the businessman’s arrest.

“The court charged Mr. Rathorn with fraud after questioning him and sent him to prison for pretrial detention,” Judge Mony said.

He said a plaintiff had accused Mr. Rathorn of fraud, but he declined to name the victim or elaborate on the case. Mr. Rathorn’s lawyer, An Virak, could not be reached for comment.

Municipal deputy military police commander Pou Davy, who arrested Mr. Rathorn on court orders, said the warrant issued by the court indicated that the businessman had defrauded an unnamed plaintiff of about $2.5 million.

Mr. Davy said Mr. Rathorn had been sent to PJ Prison to await trial. He identified Mr. Rathorn as an “oknha,” a title awarded to wealthy businessmen who donate at least $100,000 to the government.

Mr. Rathorn, 39, made headlines in 2012 after a pig farm he owned in Kompong Speu was revealed to be a large-scale drug laboratory.

A security guard working for Mr. Rathorn said at the time that the businessman had rented out the property to “two Chinese guys” and had no idea what the farm was being used for.

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