One of the four suspects who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the theft of $2.3 million from Canadia Bank was the head of the bank’s credit section during the time that the embezzlement scheme was carried out, according to a senior adviser to the bank’s executives.
Leng Suntry, whose involvement in the massive theft was not disclosed in police reports, headed Canadia Bank’s credit card operations until late September, when he and two others were arrested by police, according to the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“He was in charge of the credit card section,” the adviser said.
Another suspect in the case, Yeth Sopheaktra, 30, who is accused of masterminding the theft, was a manager in Canadia Bank’s credit card section until March, when she left her position and launched the scheme, according to police reports.
The inside job by top managers at Canadia Bank is one of the largest frauds to have been undertaken in Cambodia’s rapidly expanding banking sector.
Police reports claim that five credit cards were created by Ms. Sopheaktra and used to withdraw $2.3 million from ATMs in Phnom Penh over a six-month period.
The Canadia Bank adviser said that the scenario being reported by police sounded unlikely.
“It sounds very strange to me. It is definitely not normal. I am surprised at how the bank did not fall over this earlier,” he said, adding that he has not been part of top-level discussions at the bank since the embezzlement scheme was uncovered.
Ms. Sopheaktra’s mother, Chak Kimheng, 59, and boyfriend, Sun Saonin, 33, have also been arrested for their involvement in the theft. The four suspects are being charged with committing, or being an accomplice to, theft and the use of fraudulent documents.
Neang Hai, the lawyer representing Mr. Saonin, said that his client never worked at Canadia Bank, contradicting police reports that say he previously worked alongside Ms. Sopheaktra at the bank.
Phnom Penh penal police chief Eng Sophear said that police had confiscated $10,000 and two cars from Ms. Sopheaktra since she was arrested on September 30, but said he did not know how much of the stolen money had been recovered by the bank.
Charles Vann, executive vice president of Canadia Bank, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
The bank has yet to explain how $2.3 million was stolen from its accounts without being detected.
Chuong Eav Heng, the lawyer for Canadia Bank who is listed on police reports as the complainant in the case, said that he did not know how much of the stolen money has been recouped since the arrests.
Mr. Sophear said that the four suspects have been questioned in court and are being held in pre-trial detention at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Yeth Sopheaktra and Leng Suntry were managers in Canadia Bank’s credit and loans department. They were managers in the bank’s credit card department.
© 2013 – 2014, All rights reserved.