Timber Company Owner Denies Illegal Logging

The owner of the timber firm Seng Keang Company on Mon­day rejected claims by her ex-husband that she was making use of his name while engaging in illegal logging.

The public row has returned the former couple to the spotlight four months after the company and government officials scrambled to deny internationally publicized charges by forestry monitor Global Witness.

The June report entitled “Cam­bodia’s Family Trees,” which au­tho­rities promptly banned, accused Seng Keang and her ex-husband Dy Chouch of running an illegal logging syndicate and accused a “kleptocratic elite” of Cambodian officials and their kin of wholesale environmental plunder. Those the report named angrily denied its contents.

Dy Chouch, a local marble ty­coon and first cousin of Prime Minister Hun Sen, issued a statement through an attorney Friday to deny any claims his ex-wife Seng Keang may have made linking him to illegal logging.

“In cases where Seng Keang and her accomplices were using Okn­ha Dy Chouch’s name to do something illegal, Seng Keang must be held responsible,” Fri­day’s statement read. “For any illegal logging acti­vities, Dy Chouch is not responsible.”

Dy Chouch’s lawyer Son Kaksan said Sunday that the statement was issued because his client had re­ceived reports last week that his ex-wife was making use of his name to cover for alleged illegal activities.

“Oknha said that Seng Keang was using his name to deal with the timber issue,” said Son Kaksan. “We want to tell the public that he is not doing illegal logging.”

Seng Keang’s lawyer Chhit Boravuth denied Monday that his client was involved in illegal logging or that she had made use of her ex-husband’s name.

“It is slander. This is defamation,” Chhit Boravuth said. “She and he are already divorced. Seng Keang never used his name.”

Both attorneys said their clients had not yet decided whether to sue.


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