Brit linked to Thailand murder faces immigration charges

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Toby James Nelham is charged with illegal entry to Cambodia and working without proper documents. KT/Chor Sokunthea

A British man accused of operating a business illegally in Cambodia, who is linked to the killing of his business partner in Thailand, went on trial yesterday in Phnom Penh.

Toby James Nelham, 45, is facing charges of illegal entry into Cambodia, residing without proper documents and working without proper permits, along with fraud.

The charges are linked to Springtide International, a company he established in Preah Sihanouk province in 2015.

The company, which operated online selling a range of products, is accused of not paying taxes in Cambodia and operating without proper licences.

Mr Nelham’s business partner in Thailand, Tony Kenway, was shot dead on January 24 in Pattaya as he left a gym. Thai police have linked Mr Nelham to the murder, which was carried out by two hired gunman.

Lieutenant Colonel Kong Narin, deputy chief of immigration police, said if Mr Nelham is convicted, he will serve his sentence in Cambodia and be handed over to Thai police afterwards.

Mr Nelham was arrested by forces in Phnom Penh on February 5.

According to court documents, Mr Nelham opened the company in 2015, with a staff of about 100 employees.

“He operated the business illegally in Cambodia,” Lt Col Narin told the court yesterday. “He was arrested after immigration police raided his company based in Preah Sihanouk province.”

Lt Col Narin said another suspect was arrested during the raid and identified him as Graham William Whitethorn, who was later released after agreeing to testify against Mr Nelham.

According to an affidavit from Mr Whitehorn, Mr Nelham operated the company with Mr Kenway, and the two had an argument late last year over $250,000 in profit.

During yesterday’s trial, Mr Nelham denied the allegations.

He told the court that he came to Cambodia legally in 2015. He said that on the day of his arrest, his valid passport was with his wife, who was scared after his arrest and fled to Thailand.

He added that the company was properly registered and actually owned by Mr Whitehorn.

“I did not own the company. It was owned by Mr Graham William Whitethorn,” he said.  “The reason why the company did not have to pay tax here is because we operated the business online only.”

Mr Nelham also denied any involvement in the gangland-style execution of Mr Kenway.

“I am innocent,” he said.

A verdict is due on September 28.

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