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Media man guilty, but walks on time served

THE director of publishing firm Vistacard Cambodia Trading Post Company was found guilty of illegally offering shares yesterday, but despite a three-year sentence the businessman was set to walk free today.

At Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Cambodian-Australian Khin Udomvithourith was handed a three-year jail term – with four months to be served and the rest suspended, plus a 2 million riel (US$470) fine – for illegally offering and selling shares in his company, according to the verdict read by Judge Chea Sok Heang yesterday.

But, having already served four months in jail, he was due to be released today.

The 43-year-old was arrested in March after offering 100,000 company shares for sale to the public on February 25, 2010, in the capital.

According to the 2007 Law on the Issuance and Trading of Non-Government Securities, any individual who issues and offers securities without the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia is liable to a term of imprisonment from one to five years and a fine of between 2 million riels ($470) and 10 million riels ($2,358).

The businessman initially denied the charge, telling the court he opened a company with capital of $180,000 to $190,000, which could be divided into 500 shares, in which one share was worth $390 to $400.

Following yesterday’s hearing, Khin Udomvithourith, who taught students about international securities in a course on the stock market, declined to say if he was satisfied with the verdict – instead reiterating that he did not make a public offering of any securities.

“I know about the law, I could not do that,” he said yesterday.

“I have been jailed from March 30, so I will be released tomorrow,” he added.

Seang Thirith, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia’s department of legal affairs, which filed the complaint against Khin Udomvithourith, declined to comment after the verdict.

Cambodia is committed to launch the Cambodia Securities Exchange by July 2011 “at any cost”, according to government officials.

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