Court Concludes $2.3M Canadia Fraud Case

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday concluded the trial of two former employees of Canadia Bank and two alleged accomplices charged in October with embezzling more than $2 million from fraudulent credit card accounts.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy heard closing arguments in the case—believed to be the largest fraud case ever in Cambodia’s nascent banking history—against Canadia managers Yeth Sopheaktra, 30, and Leng Suntry, as well as Ms. Sopheaktra’s boyfriend, Sun Saonin, 33, and her mother, Chak Kimheng, 59.

Chou Chantheara, one of four lawyers representing Canadia Bank, said Sunday that the bank was seeking an additional $1.7 million on top of the $2.3 million that was allegedly stolen from the bank.

“Our request has not changed: that the court sentences the suspects according to the rule of law and that we demand the return of the lost [money] plus an additional $1.7 million in compensation,” he said.

Ms. Sopheaktra, who was a senior manager in Canadia’s credit card department, confessed during the trial, claiming to be solely responsible for defrauding the bank by using five fake credit cards to withdraw cash through ATMs from two accounts between March and October 2013.

Canadia has insisted throughout the trial that Ms. Sopheaktra could not have acted alone and that Mr. Suntry, the former head of the credit card department, played an essential role in the embezzlement scheme.

Earlier this month, however, prosecutors recommended that the court drop charges against him and Ms. Sopheaktra’s mother due to a lack of evidence.

Neang Hai, Ms. Sopheaktra’s lawyer, also recommended Friday that the court drop charges against Mr. Saonin because, although they lived together when the alleged crimes took place, there was no evidence proving he was an accomplice.

“I requested that the court drop all charges against Mr. Saonin and asked the court to release him,” he said, adding that he also requested that the court show leniency in its sentencing of Ms. Sopkeaktra due to her confession.

Judge Vandy on Sunday confirmed the trial had ended but declined to elaborate.

Mr. Chantheara, Canadia’s lawyer, said that a verdict in the case would be handed down on August 14.

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