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Couple appeal conviction

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Money missing from the bank account of Anco Brothers totalled $600,000, not $58 million, and had been used only to benefit the company, its jailed former treasurer told the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday.

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Heng Chheang and his wife, Tep Kolap, who were each jailed in December for four and a half years for breach of trust, appeared in court yesterday to appeal against their convictions and sentences.

The couple again denied having embezzled $58 million from Anco Brothers, a company owned by tycoon senator Kok An’s wife, Sok Im.

Heng Chheang conceded, however, that $600,000 had gone missing from the company’s bank account that financial records could not explain.

“I admit there is an imbalance of more than $600,000 in the company’s account, but not $58 million,” he said.

“This $600,000 was not used for personal benefit. I used it for the company’s benefit,” Heng Chheang said.

Kok An told the court Anco Brothers had lost more than $58 million through more than 600 unauthorised bank transactions beginning in 2008.

The money had been transferred into an account belonging to Heng Chheang and Tep Kolap, he said.

“I trusted Chheang so much because we are the same family. He’s my wife’s cousin. All documents I gave to him for signing,” Kok An said.

Tep Kolap, the former rector of Phnom Penh International University, sat in a wheelchair as she denied embezzling    the money.

“I didn’t know I had a bank account with my husband,” she said. Kak Key, an auditor, said his investigations had concluded that Anco Brothers had lost about $58 million.

After a hearing that lasted about five hours, the presiding judge, Plang Samnang, announced the trial would continue today.

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