ANZ hit by controversy in Cambodia

GEORGIA WILKINS
Last updated 10:29 07/08/2014

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ANZ is facing calls for compensation over its funding of a Cambodian sugar mill linked to child labour, forced evictions and land grabs.

Media reports on Monday said hundreds of Cambodian farmers had called on the bank to provide compensation for the land they lost due to the A$220 million ($243 million) sugar development, owned by Ly Yong Phat, one of Cambodia's richest men and a senator from the country's ruling political party.

The bank, which no longer finances the Phnom Penh ­sugar-run mill, said it was inappropriate to respond to calls given its connection with the company had ended.

"ANZ is no longer a financier to PPS and it is no longer appropriate to have any discussions on the company's business. Any issues would need to be raised with PPS directly," a spokesman in Melbourne said.

ANZ is understood to have met community representatives in Cambodia last week to encourage them to take up their issues directly with PPS.

Fairfax Media revealed ANZ's connection to the controversial plantation in January after an audit revealed the project was beset with social and environmental problems. It highlighted the involvement of foreign firms in land grabs and developments in poor nations.

ANZ is understood to be reviewing its joint venture in Cambodia, which is split with the Royal Group, owned by another wealthy Cambodian businessman, Kith Meng.

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- AFR

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