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Uni officials ‘embezzeled US$4m’

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Phnom Penh International University headquarters building on street 169 in Phnom Penh’s 7 Makara disctrict .

Heng Chheang was officially charged with breach of trust at

The rector and chairman of the board of directors at Phnom Penh International University have been arrested after being accused of embezzling more than US$4 million from local tycoon Kok An.

Heng Chheang, chairman of the board at PPIU, was charged with breach of trust on Monday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, while his wife, rector Tep Kolap, is accused of serving as his accomplice, investigating judge Te Sam Ang said yesterday.

The pair were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province last week by police from the Ministry of Interior based on a complaint filed by Kok An on June 17, Te Sam Ang added.

Heng Chheang had served as deputy director of Kok An’s Anco Company, founded in 1993.

“Heng Chheang was officially charged with breach of trust at Anco Company, and his wife is charged with being his accomplice,” Te Sam Ang said.

“They were arrested and charged based on allegations that they transferred money from the company’s accounts into their own accounts for their own use.”

The two are now being held at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh.

“The date of their trial has not yet been set,” Te Sam Ang said.

“I am still working on investigating and researching their case in order to prepare for their trial.”

Pen Kosal, a penal police officer at the Interior Ministry, said that according to Kok An’s complaint, Heng Chheang was hired as chief of accounting at Anco in the early1990s.

He allegedly became deputy director of the firm in 2004 before being fired in 2010 after the company accused him of embezzling funds.

Heng Chheang allegedly transferred more than US$4 million to his and his wife’s accounts, Pen Kosal said, adding that they had used these funds to purchase a plot of land in Prampi Makara district in 2006 in order to construct Phnom Penh International University.

Lawyers for the suspects could not be reached for comment yesterday, nor could Kok An.

Anco is responsible for locally distributing products including Budweiser beer, 555 cigarettes and Evian water, according to the company’s website.

Kok An also serves as a senator from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

According to the Phnom Penh International University website, Heng Chheang and Tep Kolap presided over a Khmer New Year celebration at the university in April.

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