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Property dispute turns into tit-for-tat

Property dispute turns into tit-for-tat

BUSINESS tycoon Duong Chhiv launched a $2.6 million countersuit against Khek Vandy on Tuesday during a hearing at the Phnom Penh Court over proceeds from the 2007 sale of 8 hectares on Phnom Penh's Chroy Changvar peninsula.

The former Funcinpec lawmaker has claimed Duong Chhiv owed him 45 percent of the profits from the $30 million allegedly received from the sale under the terms of a November 1993 contract.

He alleged that Korean developer BK Global paid $500 per square metre for almost 5 hectares and that other buyers paid $260 per square metre for a further 3 hectares.

But Duong Chhiv's lawyer, Chan Sok Yean, said the contract originally covered 40 hectares on the peninsula and was rendered null and void when City Hall confiscated 32 hectares in 2001 for municipality projects.  

He said Khek Vandy misled his client into buying disputed land and asked the court for $2.3 million compensation and a further $300,000 in damages.

"With $2 million in 1992, if my client have bought somewhere there was no dispute, my client maybe could have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue," Chan Sok Yean told presiding judge Ke Sakhon.

Under the terms of the contract, which Khek Vandy said was witnessed by then Russei Keo district governor Seng Ratanak, Duong Chihiv funded the purchase of land on the peninsula and any development costs in return for 55 percent of the profits.

Khek Vandy's lawyer, Kong Mesa, accepted most of the land had been confiscated by City Hall but argued that Duong Chhiv had made a profit on the remainder and was bound by the contract.

Ke Sakhon declined to make a ruling and asked the lawyers to submit more papers on behalf of their clients, both of whom were absent for the hearing.

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