Court Charges Bank Staffer Over Theft of $1.6 Million

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday charged an employee of the Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia (FTB) over the theft of $1.6 million from the firm, a police official said.

Bun Sathya, chief of the city’s minor crimes bureau, said his officers arrested Chou Chea Sari, who is in his 50s, on Monday at the FTB branch where he worked.

“We arrested him…at his office after we received a complaint from the company,” Mr. Sathya said.

He added that the court charged Mr. Chea Sari on Tuesday after he confessed to stealing the money.

“The court charged him with breach of trust and faking documents,” Mr. Sathya said.

Both charges carry a maximum prison sentence of three years and a fine of up to 6 million riel, or about $1,500.

The bureau chief said he could not provide more details about the theft because he did not have the case file with him.

Court and bank officials could not be reached for comment. Police officers who escorted Mr. Chea Sari from the municipal court after he was charged declined to comment.

Mr. Chea Sari’s arrest comes nearly a year after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court found two Canadia Bank managers and three others guilty in one of the banking sector’s largest-ever fraud cases.

On August 18, the court sentenced one of the managers, Yeth Sopheaktra—who claimed she single-handedly embezzled $2.7 million from Canadia between March and October 2013—to five years in prison.

Ms. Sopheaktra was found guilty of breach of trust and forgery for using her position at the bank to create fake accounts in order to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars per day from ATMs across the city.

The four other defendants—Leng Suntry, the former manager of the bank’s credit-card section; Sun Saonin, Ms. Sopheaktra’s boyfriend; Chak Kimheng, Ms. Sopheaktra’s mother; and Tep Vinchanthy, whose name appeared on the fraudulent credit cards used in the scheme—were convicted as accomplices and sentenced to two years in prison.

(Additional reporting by Ouch Sony)

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