Anti-Corruption Unit Arrests Lawyer; Bar Warns of Graft

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has arrested a lawyer in Phnom Penh over undisclosed allegations of graft, with the bar association issuing a notice to members on Wednesday warning them against acting as a “go-between” for court officials and clients.

Pich Rattana, 40, was arrested in the Olympic Stadium compound on Tuesday, according to bar association president Bun Honn. The ACU, whose officers carried out the arrest, has declined to give any details about the case.

The bar issued a statement on Wednesday—signed by Mr. Honn on Tuesday—laying out nine points of proper conduct for legal professionals. One of the points advised lawyers to avoid “brokering paperwork.”

“A lawyer is an assistant for justice in society—and not an assistant of the court. The lawyer is not a go-between,” the statement said. “The Bar Association does not support acts of corruption being committed by lawyers.”

Mr. Honn said on Wednesday that he also did not know what charges Mr. Rattana was facing, despite calling ACU Chairman Om Yentieng on Tuesday evening to find out.

“[Mr. Yentieng] would not say the reason for the lawyer’s arrest,” Mr. Honn said. “Now, [Mr. Rattana] is under investigation…[and] we are waiting on the Anti-Corruption Unit’s procedures.”

Mr. Honn said six lawyers had volunteered to defend Mr. Rattana. Saing Vannak, an attorney appointed to the case, declined to comment and referred questions to Mr. Honn.

Mr. Rattana earned a bachelor’s degree in law in 1998 and has been a lawyer since 2004, having worked for the Justice & Associate law firm in Phnom Penh, according to the firm’s website.

Justice & Associate’s director, Suy Chhun Hak, could not be reached. Suy Sokhon, a lawyer at the firm, said Mr. Rattana had left some time ago but could not remember when.

Mr. Yentieng could not be reached for comment.

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