Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy: I will help return stolen money to Cambodian people

Rainsy: I will help return stolen money to Cambodian people

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks to reporters in the Kingdom in 2016. Pha Lina

Rainsy: I will help return stolen money to Cambodian people

Sam Rainsy on Tuesday said that “as a democrat” he is ready to negotiate the return to the Kingdom of any assets seized from Cambodian officials under legislation being considered by the US.

Introduced in May, the Cambodian Democracy Act of 2018 can freeze assets, restrict all financial transactions with the US and deny entry into the country of all senior Cambodian government, military and security officials who President Donald Trump determines have “directly and substantially undermined democracy in Cambodia”.

The former leader of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Rainsy said in an interview with Radio Free Asia: “The CNRP and I, Sam Rainsy, will urge the US to return all confiscated money to repay the Cambodian people because that money is the sweat and blood of Khmer people,” he said.

However, ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed Rainsy’s interview as part of a “plot” as the Kingdom’s July 29 national elections approach.

Eysan said: “This is just part of a plot by the opposition inside and outside the country as the elections draw closer.

“[The government] does not support corruption, so any money confiscated – with clear evidence as having come from corruption – and returned to help the Cambodian economy, we will welcome.

“But I am convinced it does not exist. So there is nothing to be confiscated.”

Rainsy compared senior officials in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government to former Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos, who he said had millions of dollars from corruption held in American and European banks.

He claimed that after Marcos’s ousting, such money was frozen and confiscated, with Philippine democrats negotiating its return to repay Filipinos and for national development.

Similarly, for senior CPP officials, Rainsy alleged that the US would seize millions of dollars from them after they had been blacklisted.

He said his group of democrats would then follow the Philippine example to see that money returned to help the Cambodian people.

“After the US puts high-ranking CPP officials on their blacklist, they will no longer be allowed to step on American soil, and the US will move to confiscate their [ill-gotten] money, starting with freezing their assets."

“It will be impossible to take back that money kept in the US for personal use because they will know it came from corruption."

“[This will also be a warning to] Hun Sen and his companions who think they can put money somewhere nobody can find it. In this day and age, nothing can be hidden for a long time."

“We will find it and repay the Cambodian people, to pay for their land, for whatever they have lost,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune