Court Hears Fraud Case Brought By General’s Daughter

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday heard the case of a couple charged with defrauding the daughter of a high-ranking military official out of $2.5 million in a property deal.

The plaintiff, Meas Sopheary, 35, the daughter of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Deputy Commander-in-Chief Meas Sophea, filed a complaint in June against the couple, Sok Rathoan, 35, and his wife, Phann Davy.

She alleged that they had sold her a villa and a plot of land behind the Royal Palace, but never handed over the titles after she paid them $2.5 million in cash and $51,000 to cover taxes for the sale.

According to a copy of Ms. Sopheary’s complaint, after she paid the couple for the land and villa she waited 60 days for the property to be transferred. When she did not hear from the couple, she discovered that they had mortgaged the entire property to the petroleum company Savimex for $160,000.

In court Thursday, Mr. Rathoan admitted that he had received $2.5 million from Ms. Sopheary, but said the money was actually in exchange for moveable assets, including a tanker truck and other plots of land—not the property behind the palace.

Hak Seakly, a lawyer representing Ms. Sopheary, asked the court to order the suspects to pay back all the money she had lost plus $1 million in compensation. A verdict will be announced on February 16.

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