The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday charged a Cambodian-Laotian man with conspiring to murder a businesswoman whom he was convicted of defrauding in 2011.
San Dicham, 40, a dual citizen of Cambodia and Laos, was in 2011 sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling $50,000 from timber exporter Khai Narin, 53, his employer at the time. Mr. Dicham also allegedly colluded to have Ms. Narin murdered, but that charge only came before Presiding Judge Suos Sam Ath.
“You have been charged as the ringleader [in the conspiracy] to murder [Ms. Narin],” Mr. Sam Ath said.
A key witness in the case, Ouch Lyvan, 40, told the court that he had met Mr. Dicham three times in Laos, where they plotted the murder of Ms. Narin, for which Mr. Lyvan would be paid $10,000.
When the pair attempted to cross the border back into Stung Treng province after their third meeting, Cambodian police were waiting and arrested them, but later released Mr. Lyvan. Mr. Dicham was subsequently jailed for embezzlement, but was not immediately charged with the attempted murder for reasons that were not explained in court Monday.
Mr. Dicham rejected all accusations against him, including the 2011 charges of fraud and breach of trust.
“They accuse me as an accomplice in the murder and of taking the money, but it is not true,” he said.
The $50,000 went missing in a 2011 deal in which Ms. Narin had solicited Mr. Dicham—fluent in Thai, Lao, Khmer and English—to arrange for a shipment of luxury wood to be transported from Cambodia to Hong Kong through Laos, using Thai and Chinese transport companies.
When the Chinese transport company did not receive the shipment from the Thai company as organized, an investigation began.
The murder case has been sent to an investigating judge, Judge Sam Ath said.