Ex-insurance chief claims damages from Paris

15th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PHNOM PENH, April 15 (AFP) - The French boss of a top Cambodian insurance company that was closed by the government last October has demanded USD 4 million (EUR 3.1 million) compensation from the finance ministry, a report said Friday.

PHNOM PENH, April 15 (AFP) - The French boss of a top Cambodian insurance company that was closed by the government last October has demanded USD 4 million (EUR 3.1 million) compensation from the finance ministry, a report said Friday.

Philippe Lenain, director of Indochine Insurance before it was closed for failing to register enough capital, told the Cambodia Daily the government had violated a French-Cambodian agreement on investment protection.

The English-language daily said that a letter from Lenain sent to the finance ministry claimed its actions, including ignoring a commitment by French insurance giant Macif to take a stake in the company, broke the agreement.

Lenain reportedly said the company was "brutally" shut down by the ministry, "which froze all bank accounts, put 60 employees out of employment and drove me as a refugee into the French embassy after confiscating my passport."

Macif had said in September that it would take at least a 40 percent stake in the company, making it the first major international insurance player here, with the French Development Agency planned as another shareholder.

The expanded company was to boost the number of its employees to more than 400 and offer life insurance along with its existing non-life policies.

A law passed in 2000 requires that insurance companies invest a minimum of USD 7 million (EUR 5.4 million) to obtain a licence but the tiny industry only has annual revenues estimated at USD 8 million (EUR 6.2 million).

The Frenchman's claim comes during plans to privatise the state-run Caminco insurance company.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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