The man accused of leading a multimillion-dollar scheme in which hundreds of mostly elderly Japanese investors lost thousands of dollars in fake real estate projects in Cambodia has filed a defamation suit against the lawyers who made the accusation.
Ikuo Konno, 58, who is the CEO of local development company AAP International Cambodia Co. Ltd. and an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, said Thursday that he filed suit against Japanese lawyer Egawa Go as well as his associates for defamation and malicious denunciation.
“I did not cheat older Japanese people like they are accusing me,” said Mr. Konno, who also goes by the name Konno Kakada. “Our company has real land and apartments to sell to customers, and we did not cheat those older Japanese people.
“The court in Japan also never called me for questioning.”
Mr. Konno, who said he obtained Cambodian citizenship last year, also presented signed letters Thursday showing he had been appointed to government posts. He said this proved he was not a man who could commit the crimes he was accused of by Mr. Go and his colleagues.
“The Police Academy of Cambodia appointed Ikuo Konno as technical adviser,” states a letter dated January 22, 2013, and signed by Ma Chhoeun, who was director-general of the academy at the time.
Mr. Konno also showed a Royal Decree dated November 15 that said: “We appoint Konno Kakada as adviser of the National Authority for Combating Drugs that has equal rank as an undersecretary of state.”
Mr. Konno’s remarks came a day after Mr. Go and three other lawyers, Masashi Imaizumi, Katsuta Isao and Katsuomi Abe, held a press conference in Phnom Penh to pressure the Cambodian government to investigate and arrest Mr. Konno.
At the press conference, the lawyers distributed a document stating that through fact-finding during civil proceedings in Japan, Mr. Konno was revealed as the mastermind of the scheme and that most of the money stolen from the victims has already been transferred to Cambodia.
The lawyers said they represented 45 out of 99 victims in Japan who have been swindled. The total damage being claimed by the 99 victims is $20.1 million.
Mr. Go did not respond Thursday to an emailed request for comment.