Number of plaintiffs in Empire Big Capital fraud suit up to 900

Sokha Roy, pictured in July 2017 with other villagers in Kampot, explains how Empire Big Capital allegedly swindled him. Almost 1,000 plaintiffs have joined in legal action against the company.
Sokha Roy, pictured in July 2017 with other villagers in Kampot, explains how Empire Big Capital allegedly swindled him. Almost 1,000 plaintiffs have joined in legal action against the company. Heng Chivoan

Some 900 plaintiffs have joined a class action suit against investment company Empire Big Capital, which is estimated to have defrauded tens of thousands of Cambodians out of up to $400 million, with more complainants expected to join the legal case in the coming weeks.

As of last Wednesday, at least 91 people in Banteay Meanchey had filed complaints against the Hong Kong-based company, according to provincial Police Chief Art Khem. “I believe there are more than 100 people in this province who were victims of this company”, Khem said.

EBC promised an alluring 10 percent monthly interest on minimum investments of $2,000 but soon absconded with the funds, duping thousands of Cambodians.

Ly Sovanna, a lawyer representing the victims, said each had lost at least $1,000 in the Ponzi scheme, while one plaintiff had lost a whopping $150,000. “Because people saw they could get the money easily, they took loans from the banks and money brokers. None [escaped] being a victim,” he said.

Read more: For thousands of investors, Empire Big Capital’s promises almost sounded too good to be true – they were

Sovanna said his team of five had already collected complaints and evidence from 10 provinces in the Kingdom’s south and northwest.

In the hopes of filing the case by mid-January, the team will visit Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom and Oddar Meanchey provinces next week.

While two lower-level arrests have been made, the big players in the plot – EBC head Sean Tan, Asian Investment Fund’s Chi Gosaly, Investment Consultant Association’s Huot Sovann and their alleged associate Long Sambath – have not yet been apprehended.

“They fled the country. Police know where they are now. Police are now requesting a red note from Interpol,” Sovanna said.

Dy Vichea, director of the Central Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, and ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached yesterday.