A Chinese accountant was sentenced to more than four years in jail on Monday for embezzling nearly $2 million from the hydropower development company he worked for by writing and depositing company checks and then withdrawing the funds for personal use.
“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to sentence Chen Chun Lin, 49, a Chinese accountant for CETIC International Hydropower Development Co. Ltd., to 4 1/2 years on charges of breach of special trust by administrators,” Presiding Judge Long Keshphirum announced shortly before midday.
The judge ordered Mr. Chen to repay the $1.93 million he stole from the company, as well as pay 200 million riel, or about $50,000, in damages.
During his trial earlier in the morning, Mr. Chen confessed to secretly writing 52 checks over the course of last year and then proceeding to withdraw money from a company bank account once the checks were cleared.
After Mr. Chen admitted to stealing nearly $2 million from his company, Judge Keshphirum asked him via a translator what he had used the money for.
“I used it for gambling. I subsequently spent it all in gambling since early 2015,” replied Mr. Chen, who was imprisoned on December 26, according to court documents.
Tip Janvibol, the lawyer representing CETIC, said Mr. Chen had worked for the company for six years and that he was in charge of managing all the company’s funds.
“The company trusted him and let him manage the revenue and expenses, and he stole the money by writing fake checks to Canadia Bank,” he said. “I would like to ask the court to give him a severe punishment in order to make him learn a lesson.”
CETIC International Hydropower Development, a subsidiary of the China Electric Power Technology Import & Export Corp., completed construction on the Kirirom-III Hydropower Plant in Koh Kong province in 2013, according to an article published by state news agency AKP, which said the firm has a 30-year agreement worth $43 million to operate the plant.