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Battle Over CamKo City Now in Court

A South Korean government agency and Korean investors in CamKo City are locked in an ownership dispute at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over the half-built residential development project in Russei Keo district, according to court documents obtained yesterday.

Following the collapse of the Bunsan Saving Bank amid a fraud scandal just over a year ago, progress on two major developments in Cambodia that were funded by the bank-CamKo City and a proposed $1 billion Siem Reap airport project has halted. The CamKo project is still only partially built, although some residents have moved into its high-rise apartment blocks.

When Busan Saving Bank filed for bankruptcy, the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), a government agency, bailed it out. The KDIC is now attempting to recoup money investment in Cambodia through fraudulent loans made by Busan.

Last month, Lee Sang-ho, CEO of World City Co, the firm behind the CamKo development, was sentenced to five years in jail in Seoul for fraudulently obtaining loans from the Busan Savings Bank. Although Mr. Lee is appealing his conviction and denies any wrongdoing in obtaining the loans for his project in Russei Keo, the future of CamKo and the matter of who will be the long-term owner of the project are now in doubt.

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