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Police raid property firm

A man leaves the Norodom Boulevard offices of the ARP-OITC Group on Saturday, during investigations at the site by police. Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Police have arrested four employees of a shadowy organisation that has
been implicated in a series of bizarre scandals in multiple countries,
holding the men on suspicion of large-scale fraud and forgery.

Ray
C Dam, the chairman of ARP-OITC Group Co Ltd, and Soush Saroeun,
executive managing director of ARP-OITC, were arrested on Saturday in
Phnom Penh, National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said. A source
close to the investigation said two foreigners had been arrested as
well, though the men did not have passports when they were apprehended
and their nationalities could not be confirmed.

The arrests
follow an October report in The Post that examined the “Office of
International Treasury Control”, of which ARP-OITC is a subsidiary, and
questioned the group’s alleged associations with the United States
government, the United Nations and HSBC Bank.

Housed in modern
offices on Norodom Blvd, ARP-OITC identifies itself in promotional
material as an “international real estate consultancy” that also offers
loans and “bank instruments” for joint venture partners. The Post
confirmed in October, however, that the group is licensed with neither
the National Bank of Cambodia nor the real estate department at the
Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“Based on the article, I
already found that the company does not have a license from the
Ministry of Finance in terms of real estate, their business operation,
and since then we advised them that if they want to do business
properly in the country, they have to comply with Cambodian law,” Mey
Vann, director of the financial department at the Ministry of Economy
and Finance, said Sunday.

“They committed to us that they will
ask for the license, but since then, they did not do anything, so we
just put the complaint to the investigators.”

Mey Vann said
following the original report in October that an inter-ministerial
committee, including officials from the ministries of finance,
interior and land management, was looking into the issue.

OITC
materials identify the group as “the largest single owner of gold and
platinum bullion in the World” and “the largest single owner of Home
Mortgage Securities in the World today”, claiming it controls top
secret assets and “treasure” all over the globe.

“Much of the
treasure is buried in tunnels, bunkers and caves and in sunken ships in
the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia,” the group
says in an investment presentation. “Further treasures are hidden all
around the world.”

The OITC claims on its website that it has
been granted “Sovereign Entity Status under the United Nations Charter
Control No: 10-60847”, and that its assets are given “full
International Protection and Immunity under Full Jacket Security Level
3-5 … under the Great Seal of America (No: 632-258894).” Ray C Dam is
identified as an economic adviser to US presidents Barack Obama and
George W Bush.

Ben Pursell, a spokesman for the UN Resident
Coordinator’s office in Cambodia, confirmed in October that the group
is not affiliated with the UN, and that UN “charter control numbers” do
not exist.
The OITC’s listed address is in Washington, DC, though American officials have also rejected any connection to Dam or OITC. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH


The Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News
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