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Businesswoman faces $600,000 fraud charge

Businesswoman faces $600,000 fraud charge

WELL-KNOWN businesswoman Chhin Sokuntheary was charged in absentia with fraud on Tuesday over allegations she sold the same land in Phnom Penh to two different buyers.

Prosecutor Kong Sam Sareth took aim at the businesswoman, who was noticeably absent from Phnom Penh Municipal Court, for selling four plots of land in Phnom Penh Thmey commune, Russei Keo district, twice – and collecting US$600,000 in the process.  

“Chhin Sokuntheary sold four plots of land to the plaintiff, Ung Meng Cheu, and took the money,” he said. “Later, Chhin Sokuntheary sold the same land to another person.”

Ty Kim Srean, lawyer for Ung Meng Cheu, who filed the complaint in May last year, said the businesswoman had sold the four 600 square-metre plots to Ung Meng Cheu for $200,000 in July 2008, and later sold them to someone else for $400,000.

“Chhin Sokuntheary played a trick to cheat my client. She sold the land and took the money, but then sold the same land to another person,” he said. “The court has to punish her.”

The Post yesterday obtained a copy of the sale agreement between Chhin Sokuntheary and Ung Meng Cheu, which both parties have signed.

Ung Menh Cheu agreed to buy four land plots and paid $200,000 to Chhin Sokuntheary, who promised to transfer the property licence to him, the sale agreement states.

Ty Kim Srean urged the court to severely punish Chhin Sokuntheary and make her pay $100,000 in compensation.

Hak Seak Ly, Chhin Sokuntheary’s lawyer, denied his client had deceived anyone, and said she had not sold the land to Ung Meng Cheu, but had borrowed the money from him.

“I completely deny this accusation. My client did not cheat anyone. My client paid the money back – that’s why she had the right to sell the land to another person,” he said.

A verdict in the case will be delivered tomorrow.


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