Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on Tuesday found Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov guilty in two separate child sex abuse cases, one of which involved 17 victims, and sentenced him to a total of 11 years in prison, according to court officials.
In the first case, Judge Kim Eng said by telephone that he reaffirmed an earlier guilty verdict against the defendant and an 8-year sentence for abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Trofimov had demanded retrial in the case of the 13-year-old because he was absent for most of his original trial when it was held Nov 27.
Reading the verdict in the second case against the Russian, which involved 17 young female victims, Judge Taing Sunlay sentenced Trofimov to three years in prison for committing indecent acts against the girls, according to Trofimov’s lawyer, Saing Vannak.
Taing Sunlay could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Saing Vannak said that the court sentenced Trofimov under the lesser charge of “indecent acts” in the second case because the prosecution lacked evidence proving the 17 girls were raped and that they were unable to disprove Trofimov’s claim that he is impotent.
Peng Maneth, who represented the 17 victims, said there was strong evidence that should have seen Trofimov sentenced for more serious crimes.
“Following the medical examination for the 18 victims and the defendant’s diary, it was clear the defendant should be convicted for sexual intercourse with the children,” she said.
The girls and their parents were not satisfied with the court’s decision, she added.
Trofimov is ultimately scheduled to spend 17 years behind bars since he is currently serving another six-year prison term for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in Phnom Penh, Judge Kim Eng said.
Saing Vannak said his client maintains his innocence and would likely fight Tuesday’s court decision.
“It is unjust for my client, and he will appeal his sentence soon,” he added.
At the time of his arrest in 2007, Trofimov was the executive director of Koh Puos Investment Group Ltd, which is developing a $300-million holiday resort on Koh Puos Island off the coast of Preah Sihanouk Province, formerly Sihanoukville.
Seila Samleang, country director of the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said his organization was disappointed by the light sentence Trofimov received in the case of the 17 victims.
“It is the lightest sentence given to the largest case,” he said.
Seila Samleang said he also sympathized with authorities who had spent months investigating Trofimov, and for the victims who, he said, did not receive justice.
Seila Samleang said his organization, which provided legal aid to the 17 victims, would likely appeal the case to obtain a longer prison term for the Russian developer.