US Official Denies Knowledge of Alleged Fraud

William Nojay, a New York state assemblyman who has been summonsed for questioning by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over accusations of his involvement in a $1 million fraud case, denied knowledge of the legal dispute on Thursday, according to the Rochester-based Democrat and Chronicle newspaper.

Mr. Nojay is quoted as saying that he has not been officially notified of the summons and has never met the complainant, Phnom Penh dentist Eng Lykuong.

“I have not received any papers on this,” Mr. Nojay is reported as saying. “What the nature of the dispute is, I don’t know.”

Ms. Lykuong’s complaint alleges that four men, including Mr. Nojay, conned her into investing $1 million in Akra Agriculture Partners, promoted as a social enterprise to help farmers increase profits, which she says has remained inactive since she transferred the money in 2012.

The other three men listed in the complaint are Sichan Siv, a Cambodian-American who was a U.S. ambassador to the U.N from 2001 to 2006; Thomas Willems, a businessman from Texas and Richer Sans, a prominent Cambodian-American entrepreneur in Long Beach, California.

Mr. Richer was arrested in Phnom Penh on Wednesday for his alleged role in the case after he filed a request to the municipal court to reconsider a previous order requiring him to remain in the country during the investigation.

Mr. Nojay is a partial owner of Akra Group, the parent company of Akra Agriculture Partners, which Mr. Richer previously served as director of business development. In the Democrat and Chronicle report, Mr. Nojay says that Mr. Richer left the company last year.

Ms. Lykuong’s lawyer, Orn Hing, said Friday that Mr. Nojay’s name was listed on the account in which his client transferred the $1 million.

“How could he not be involved?” Mr. Hing said. “The company’s account was in his name. If someone wants to get cash from this account, he must allow it. So he is actually involved in this problem. He is a leader.”

Investigating Judge Oeung Sieng, deputy director of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, declined to comment on Mr. Nojay’s involvement in the case. “This case is under investigation, so I can not say anything about this case,” he said.

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