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Court overturns fraud verdict

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The Supreme Court yesterday dropped a charge of fraud against a businesswoman sentenced to three years’ jail last week.

Oeung Rithea, 39, was released on bail yesterday after the court referred a separate charge of forging documents to the Court of Appeal.

On November 16, the Supreme Court heard a case in which Oeung Rithea was accused by her business partner Chea Chamroeun of deceiving shareholders of their business, which bid for provincial market construction contracts.

She is also accused of forging private letters relating to the shareholders.

Last week, the court sentenced Oeung Rithea to three years’ jail and ordered her to pay Chea Chamroeun US$1.9 million and $US400,000 in additional compensation.

Following her sentencing, Oeung Rithea, who was arrested in January, 2010, appealed to the Court of Appeal and later to the Supreme Court.

When delivering the verdict yesterday, Khim Pon, the
presiding judge for the Supreme Court, dropped the fraud charge and referred the charge of document forgery to the Court of Appeal.

“The Supreme Court rejected [the fraud charge], overturning the charge and [referring the other charge] to the Court of Appeal,” he said.

“[We’re] asking for the release of the accused on bail and waiting for the Court of Appeal to review the charge of documentation forgery.”

Oeung Rithea did not comment yesterday, but her lawyer Kiet Chhay was happy with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Chea Chamroeun could not be reached for comment.

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