Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted a former adviser of Senate President Chea Sim in absentia for breach of contract in a Phnom Penh land deal.
Judge Kim Dany said that the court sentenced businessman Mey Ratha, 39, to two years in prison (suspended) and a fine of 10 million riel (about US$25,000) and ordered him to pay $140,000 in compensation to businessman Chhorn Sarane, 36, to whom he allegedly issued a bad cheque for $250,000 in 2008.
Sarane sued Ratha in 2009 and the court issued a warrant for Ratha’s arrest in October 2011, at which point he fled the country.
Kao Soupha, defence lawyer for Chhorn Sarane, applauded the court’s conviction of Ratha but rejected the punishment as too light.
“He has cheated many people, issued several false cheques, and lied to the court. So his prison sentence should not be suspended,” he said.
Soupha said that he would meet with Sarane to decide whether to appeal the sentence.
According to court documents, Mey Ratha was appointed as an advisor to Chea Sim on February 18, 2010. After the court issued his arrest warrant, he was fired as adviser by a royal decree in December 2011.
Mey Ratha and his defence lawyers could not be contacted for comment yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]