Police Seek Casino Boss Over Missing $3.7 Million

The owner of a second gaming facility operating out of the Titan King Casino compound in Bavet City has absconded with some $3.7 million in unpaid rental fees and staff wages, police said on Friday as two Indian nationals were charged as accomplices in the embezzlement case.

The Indian men—Sunil Mu­kesh­kumar Panchal, 37, and Manthan Jaymishkumar Shah, 29—were arrested on Tuesday when their 700 or so employees revolted after going unpaid for five months, according to Phan Ratana, a spokes­man for the Svay Rieng Provincial Court.

“The two Indian guys were charged as accomplices to breach of trust,” a crime punishable by up to three years in prison, Mr. Ra­ta­na said on Friday.

The main perpetrator, he explained, is their boss, the owner of the casino they were managing inside a building rented from the larger Titan King Casino. He refused to give the man’s name or nationality.

“He is on the run now. Authorities are seeking him,” he said.

Nhem Pheng, deputy chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, said the man was being hunted by immigration police—suggesting that he is foreign national. He said the suspect’s casino was properly licensed. Immigration police could not be reached.

Mr. Panchal and Mr. Shah were initially accused in a National Police statement of embezzling $3.69 million between April 18 and September 13. Police in Svay Rieng said the money comprised unpaid wages and rent owed to Titan King.

The imposing, windowless Titan King, built for $10 million and opened in 2010, is owned by Kith Thieng, the bother of Royal Group chairman Kith Meng. It caters mainly to Vietnamese gamblers from across the border.

Under questioning at the court on Friday, Mr. Panchal and Mr. Shah said they had been unable to pay salaries to their employees because their “big boss” had the money.

The men are awaiting trial at the Svay Rieng Provincial Prison.

sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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