Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged Ray C Dam, a Cambodian-American who claims to be an adviser to US President Barack Obama, with forgery, a court official said.
Ray C Dam, 59, was charged with forging documents–and his assistant Suosh Sarouen was charged as an accomplice–under articles 626, 627, 628 and 629 of the new criminal procedure code, Deputy Prosecutor Sok Roeun said.
Mr Dam’s lawyer Uch Sophal said the court had charged his client with forging a verification letter from a bank.
Mr Dam claims to be the chairman of an organization known as the Office of International Treasury Control, which operates a Cambodian real estate subsidiary called Asia Real Property.
The OITC’s website describes the organization as a “sovereign entity” affiliated with the UN that provides large-scale financial services. It claims to draw on vast funds held “in such inhospitable places as in sunken ships on the seabed, on the bed of large reservoirs, caves, purposely dug mountain tunnels, old mines, bunkers, and such places.”
Mr Dam and Mr Saroeun, along with two unidentified foreign nationals, were arrested Saturday by the Interior Ministry’s internal security department. The two other men did not appear in court yesterday.
The Interior Ministry started investigating the company after the Ministry of Finance discovered it was operating without a real estate license, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said.
Mr Dam declined to speak to reporters as he was led away from the court in sunglasses and handcuffs yesterday evening.
During a break in proceedings, his co-accused Mr Sarouen said he had been questioned over a letter that the company showed to the media in October claiming OITC had access to more than $500 million worth of gold deposits held with HSBC Bank in London.
“I work for APR-OITC. It is genuine,” he said when asked whether OITC was a legitimate company. Mr Saroeun denied being involved in any acts of fraud.
In an e-mail yesterday, a spokesperson for the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator in Cambodia said the group is not affiliated with the UN in any way.
Mr Dam allegedly told police he was a special adviser to President Obama and an assistant to former President George W Bush.
US Embassy spokesman Mark Wenig said he had “no credible information” that Mr Dam is affiliated with the US government. He said the Embassy was still trying to determine whether Mr Dam was actually a US citizen.