Three Arrested Over Suspicious Money Transfer

Interior Ministry police have arrested three men, a Cambodian, an American and an Italian national, suspected of fraudulently transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Phnom Penh from a US bank account, police and local bank officials said.

According to a copy of an Interior Ministry police report, US national Mead Gaie Eudell, Italian Vincenzo Fenili and their driver, Nuon Visal, were arrested Friday in Battam­bang province. The arrests were made after Acleda Bank reported Thursday the men fraudulently transferred $678,000 from the US bank Comerica, the report states.

Fenili was found in possession of $83,158 and Eudell had $77,100, the report said, adding that the men were apprehended as they attempted to cross into Thailand at the Doung border checkpoint in Kamrieng district.

Battambang Provincial Police Chief Kong Sakhon confirmed that the men were arrested in his province, but he referred further questions to the Interior Ministry.

Acleda Bank CEO In Channy said Tuesday that after the suspects withdrew a portion of the $678,000 on March 23 the bank was contacted by US bank officials, who claimed that the men had withdrawn the money from an account that did not belong to them.

“We provided the information to the police to make the arrests,” he said, but declined to provide further details until the investigation is complete.

Chhay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s General Infor­mation Department, gave a conflicting account of the arrest, saying that the men were arrested at a border crossing in Banteay Mean­chey district and had only transferred $300,000 from the US account.

Chhay Sinarith said he had no further details and referred questions to the ministry’s Immigration Department Police Chief Thong Lim and Penal Department Di­rector Mok Chito.

Thong Lim declined comment and referred questions to ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, who said he was unaware of the case. Mok Chito could not be reached for comment.

US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle declined to comment on the case Tuesday and the Italian Embassy in Bangkok did not respond to e-mailed questions.

Comerica bank did not respond to questions e-mailed Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by James Welsh)

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