Cambodian casino owner absconds with $3.7m in stolen funds

cambodia-casino-stolen-fundsThe hunt is on for a Cambodian casino operator who appears to have fled the country with millions of dollars in stolen funds.

On Tuesday, the Khmer Times quoted Svay Rieng provincial police saying that two Indian nationals had been arrested for cheating the Titan King Casino in Bavet out of $3.7m.

The men were arrested following a fraud complaint by Kith Thieng, the brother Kith Meng, chairman of the Royal Group conglomerate, which owns the Titan King.

However, a later report by the Cambodia Daily claimed the two men worked for a second licensed gaming facility that rented space within the sprawling Titan King compound. The owner of this second facility, who police have yet to publicly identify, is also believed to be a foreign national.

The $3.7m was reportedly embezzled over a period that began April 18 and ended on Tuesday with the two Indian nationals’ arrest. The funds in question includes rent owed to the Titan King and wages owed to the casino’s employees, who reportedly revolted on Tuesday after going unpaid for the entire five-month period.

The Indian nationals claim they’d been unable to pay the workers’ salaries because their “big boss” had all the cash. The two men are being held awaiting trial on charges of being accomplices to breach of trust, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Located just across the border from Vietnam, Bavet has around a dozen casinos that cater predominantly to a Vietnamese clientele. Many of these casino operators were fearing the worst when it appeared that Vietnam’s government was preparing to end the longstanding prohibition on allowing its citizens to enter Vietnamese casinos, but recent statements by that country’s Ministry of Finance appear to have put those fears to rest.