Cambodian-American businessman Richer San, who was jailed earlier this month over a $1 million fraud case, complained to the Ministry of Interior in May that Phnom Penh dentist Eng Lykuong was attempting to extort money from him and demanded to be paid $150,000 in compensation, according to documents obtained this week.
Ms. Lykuong claims she was conned into investing $1 million in Akra Agricultural Partners, a Cambodian subsidiary of U.S.-based company Akra Group that employed Mr. San as its senior vice president and director of business development.
Prior to filing a lawsuit in July with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ms. Lykuong’s lawyer, Orn Hing, sent a letter to Mr. San in May demanding the return of $1 million that she paid to the company in three installments.
On June 23, she was contacted by In Bora, director of the Interior Ministry’s penal department, inviting her to the ministry on July 2 to answer questions relating to a complaint filed by Mr. San.
“I was surprised to see the letter from Ministry of Interior,” she said by email on Monday. “Instead of responding to my demand letter, Mr. Richer San had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior [accusing me of] threatening and defaming him in relation to the $1 million fraud.”
Mr. San’s complaint, dated May 23, stated that he received a defamatory letter from Ms. Lykuong’s lawyer on May 16 that falsely accused him of fraud in order to extort money from him.
“I have never received cash from this woman, not even $1. Please help me find justice and penalize this person according to the law,” the letter reads. “I also want $150,000 from the woman in compensation and the issuance of a public letter of apology.”
Mr. Hing said he accompanied his client to the meeting at the Ministry of Interior to clarify the matter.
“We had not yet filed any complaint against [Mr. San] or the other three defendants. We were trying to negotiate the matter of repaying my client’s money but [Mr. San] filed a complaint against my client first,” he said.
He added that Mr. San, who is currently detained at minimum security PJ prison, is claiming in his defense that he was an employee of the company and had no knowledge of the dentist’s investments.
His co-accused are Sichan Siv, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; William Nojay, a New York State Assemblyman and Texan businessman Thomas Willems, all of whom are listed as directors of Akra Agricultural Partners.
Mr. Nojay has denied knowledge of the case, while Mr. Siv and Mr. Willems have not yet responded publicly to the allegations.
(Additional reporting by Hay Pisey)