Woman Tried for Forgery Over Dealings With Lawmaker’s Kin

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a 43-year-old businesswoman on a forgery charge following allegations that she defaulted on a $1 million loan from a CPP lawmaker’s family, a member of which she allegedly claimed to represent.

Ing Rithea borrowed money in 2007 from CPP lawmaker Chea Chamroeun and his family, and then forged a message from Mr Chamreoun’s sister-in-law, Chap Bonavy, giving herself permission to represent her, according to both Ms Rithea’s lawyer and Mr Chamroeun’s lawyer.

The money was used to renovate six markets in Takeo, Kratie, Kampot, and Kompong Chhnang provinces, according to both sides. Ms Rithea was initially charged with breach of trust after her April arrest, but during the trial deputy prosecutor Heang Sopheak requested the charge be changed to fraud.

“I have charged her for fraud and forging private documents and please, court, punish her according to the law,” he said.

Ms Rithea said she only borrowed $450,000 and reinvested profits from her venture in other projects under an agreement with Mr Chamroeun’s family.

“I never had the intention to cheat them out of money,” she said. She admitted that she forged Ms Bonavy’s signature on a message that gave her permission to represent Ms Bonavy in a meeting with finance officials in Kratie but said she did so only because Ms Bonavy was busy and she did not want to miss out on an investment.

Ms Bonavy, who is seeking $3 million in compensation, said in court that Ms Rithea had agreed to pay back the borrowed money after she made her initial profits.

A statement from Mr Cham­roeun read aloud in court, claim­ed that Ms Rithea told him in January that if he did not loan her more money, she would lose her investment in the markets.

Ms Rithea’s lawyer, Chea Hey, said that Ms Rithea should not have been charged criminally, as Ms Rithea had already transferred properties, including the markets, to Mr Chamroeun.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.