In the latest development in a fraud case involving a U.S. diplomat, New York assemblyman and a high-profile Cambodian-American businessman, the dentist who accuses the group of duping her into investing $1 million in a company that never launched appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday to answer questions about a counter-lawsuit accusing her of defamation.
Eng Lykuong was questioned Friday over a complaint filed by Cambodian-American businessman Richer San accusing the dentist of defamation after allegations he and his colleagues defrauded her of $1 million, temporarily landing him in Phnom Penh’s PJ prison, where he was released from pretrial detention earlier this week.
Ms. Lykuong’s lawyer, Orn Hing, said the prosecutor questioned his client about providing fake testimony to the court, extortion and malicious defamation, for which Mr. San is demanding $1 million in compensation.
The dentist claims she was conned into investing in Akra Agricultural Partners Inc. by Mr. San and his partners, including Sichan Siv, a former U.S. enjoy to the U.N., who she says showcased a number of phony business deals to court her investment.
“She did not threaten [Mr. San] or try to extort money from him, she only demanded the return of her money,” Mr. Hing said in defense of his client. “And how can she have defamed Mr. San when the court charged him based on her complaint?”
Mr. San spent some six weeks in prison after he was arrested on September 3 for ignoring a summons to appear at court. He was released on Thursday after a number of influential friends put up a guarantee in case Mr. San flees.
Mr. San was not at court on Friday, but one of his lawyers, Mon Keosivin, confirmed that his client had filed a complaint against Ms. Lykuong for malicious defamation because he was innocent of fraud.
“My client was an employee and was not involved with lobbying her [Ms. Lykuong] to invest and he was not a signatory when she paid the money,” Mr. Keosivin said.