Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Officers of Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit have arrested a lawyer and a provincial official allegedly involved in a biofuel scam promoted by ‘cash for questions’ Peer Lord Laird.

Greg Fryett (left) Lord Laird (right)

The move follows the arrest of British businessman Greg Fryett, who employed the Peer to promote his ‘Substainable Ago Energy company whose assets were frozen after intervention by the Serious Fraud Office last year.

It is alleged that Fryett, 47, a former Bangkok businessman originally from Torquay, bribed officials to provide forged land documents for a massive plantation in Banteay Meanchey Province in northern Cambodia to grow jatropha, a plant used in bio fuels.

The company may have taken as much as £32 million off Britons many of whom offered up their pensions on a deal which Lord Laird who said at a parliamentary promotion: 

“We are on the cusp of a sustainable evolution greater than the industrial revolution of the 19th Century and the digital revolution of the 20th Century”.

Fryett has pleaded innocent from prison in Phnom Penh saying he want out to Cambodia to sort out the problems having been promised immunity.

According to a SFO report made by investigator Mark Thompson Fryett had paid himself a salary of US$25,000 and banked cash in Switzerland and Tanzania and the British Virgin Islands – totalling US$5.7 million

The officials arrested are Banteay Meanchey Deputy Chief of Administration Ouk Keo Rattanak and lawyer Ty Pov.

Fryett’s alleged Cambodian-American accomplices, Om Sam Ang and Soeun Denny, were arrested last year for allegedly faking public documents and clearing forest land.

British pensioners have also been swindled in other  ‘plant a tree’ schemes in South East Asia including bamboo plantations and agarwood – which produces a fragrant incense.

Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Laird was caught in a BBC Panorama sting accepting cash for questions in Parliament.