British, U.S. Embassies in Phnom Penh voiced concerns about the case of British businessman Gregg Fryett. “I believe that Mr. Fryett has a criminal lifestyle.” This was the conclusion of an investigator at the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office in a report submitted to a London court in February 2012. More than four years later, and more than three years after his arrest in Cambodia, Gregg Fryett is still in prison without a conviction. But the U.K., which first raised a red flag over his operations in Banteay Meanchey province, is now stepping in to make sure the suspected fraudster doesn’t fall victim to Cambodia’s corrupt court system. According to the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, officials at the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have been meeting behind the scenes with Cambodian authorities to discuss Mr. Fryett’s grueling two-year trial. Meas Kim Heng, Cambodia’s ambassador to the U.K., met with FCO officials last month to discuss Mr. Fryett’s case, according to the Cambodian Embassy. Mr. Fryett, together with Cambodian-American associates Um Samnang and Soeum Denny, and Cambodian Ouk Keo Ratanak, were jailed in 2013 on charges of creating fake documents to purchase land in the northwestern province for a jatropha plantation, as well as illegally clearing land and defrauding farmers. The judge who oversaw the initial investigation has since been imprisoned on a separate corruption charge, a provincial official involved in the case has been arrested on fraud charges. The U.S. embassy said last week that it was watching the case and raising concerns through diplomatic channels. “We have discussed this case with our British counterparts and raised it at the appropriate levels of the Cambodian government,” embassy spokesman Courtney Woods said in an email.
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