Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Another twist in Kok An case

Another twist in Kok An case

Heng Chheang, convicted of defrauding Senator Kok An in 2011, is seen outside court in February 2012
Heng Chheang, convicted of defrauding Senator Kok An in 2011, is seen outside court in February 2012. HONG MENEA

Another twist in Kok An case

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged an internal auditor for Senator Kok An with “falsification by an expert” for allegedly faking the audit that formed the basis for An’s legal complaint against former employee Heng Chheang, who was convicted in 2011 of defrauding the tycoon.

According to an August 18 indictment filed by vice prosecutor Soeu Vanny, the court has charged 29-year-old Trak Sophat, then an assistant to the chief internal auditor of An’s Anco Brothers Co, for offering a false report to An in 2011 accusing Chheang of stealing more than $4 million.

The case against Chheang has grown increasingly shaky after it was revealed that the independent audit that allegedly showed him embezzling $58 million only took into account withdrawals and not deposits, prompting the release of Chheang’s wife, Tep Kolap, and a court-ordered re-investigation of the case.

In the indictment, Vanny alleges that “Sophat made an audit report on monetary transactions and other expenditures … that were made by Mr Heng Chheang to oknha Kok An emphasising that Mr Heng Chheang had improperly withdrawn a total of $4,684,120 from two banks”.

However, in that report, she continues, Sophat only audited outgoing transactions, prompting An to file legal complaints against Chheang and Kolap, which ultimately resulted in their convictions.

“This above act was a crime of falsification by an expert, a crime which is provided for and punishable by Article 551 of the Penal Code of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Therefore, the prosecutor decided to open an investigation into the above case, and decided to put Mr Trak Sophat under the court’s control,” the indictment reads.

According to court documents, the charge marks the second time Sophat has been accused of falsifying his audit, but the original allegation – levelled in 2011 – was later dropped by investigating judge Leang Sam Nath.

If found guilty, Sophat could face between two and five years in prison, and fines ranging from four million to 10 million riel ($1,000 to $2,500).

But Sophat yesterday brushed off the charges.

“I think that this is the company’s issue, and the company will handle it for me,” he said, declining to comment further.

An and his lawyers could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (