Former Indochine Director Seeks Indemnity Compensation

Philippe Lenain, the former managing director of Indochine In­sur­ance, has reiterated his demand for compensation over the government’s closure of his bus­i­ness. The move comes ahead of a scheduled visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen to Lenain’s native France next week.

Lenain, who is demanding $4-million compensation from the Minis­try of Finance, accuses the government of violating an agreement be­tween Cambodia and France on the protection of investment, ac­cor­ding to documents obtained in April.

“I’m just asking for a rightful com­­pen­sation,” Lenain, who fled to France after his company was shut down by the government last year, wrote in a recent e-mail.

Lenain added that if Cambodia does not honor the investment pro­tec­tion agreement with France, he will take the case to the Interna­tio­nal Center for Settlement of In­vest­ment Dis­putes, an international or­ganization with close links to the World Bank.

Such a move “would no doubt af­fect the level of financial support that Cambodia has so far enjoyed from the international community. The World Bank, and other institutions, base their financial policies on ICSID cases,” Lenain wrote.

He added that French and other for­eign investors will realize that they could be subjected to the same treatment as Indochine if the government does not implement the in­vestment protection treaty.

Prime Minister Hun Sen will meet with French businessmen and French President Jacques Chir­ac on Sept 19 and Sept 20, ac­cording to a Ministry of Informa­tion news state­ment.

Chea Peng Chheang, secretary of state at the Ministry of Finance, said he was surprised Lenain was still seeking compensation.

“We gave his company a lot of chances,” he said. “We do treat all in­­­vestors fairly and [exercise] flexibility with all investors.”

In November, a liquidator of In­dochine charged that Lenain had made a series of withdrawals from company accounts in the months before Indochine’s forced closure.

At a news conference, the Bang­kok-based Baker Tilly Consulting Group said it had recovered an esti­ma­ted $115,000 in company as­sets—a sum that fell far short of com­plaints that were expected to arise from insurance policies that had become useless.

(Additional re­­­porting by Pin Sisovann)



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