The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday tried two men on charges of fraud and forging documents with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s signature in a bid to secure a $6-million mining exploration deal for a Chinese businessman in Mondolkiri province.
El Romny, 42, and Chinese national Chen Ming Xin, 47, are accused of forging the prime minister’s signature, along with that of Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem, last year.
The phony documents were drawn up to allow businessman Chao Yunde to open the mine.
Presiding Judge Kor Vandy said they did so after Mr. Chao paid them $150,000.
“Mr. Romny forged Prime Minister Hun Sen’s signature and Mining Minister Suy Sem’s signature,” Judge Vandy said. He added that Mr. Chen brokered the deal.
Mr. Romny admitted the forgery, but said he had been given the documents to sign by a government adviser called Pol Sokha.
The pair face prison sentences of between two and six years and fines of up to 10 million riel, or about $2,500, if found guilty. The trial is scheduled to continue on May 5.