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Russian denies debauchery charges

Russian denies debauchery charges

Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov, arrested and jailed on charges of debauchery

two weeks ago, is being treated well in a Phnom Penh jail, and denies the accusations

against him, according to a Russian Embassy official who visited him in his Prey

Sar prison cell.

"The detained man denied all the accusations," said Timur Zevakhin, chief

of the Consular Department of the Russian Embassy, who met with Trofimov October

26.

Zevakhin said they did not discuss the pending court case during his visit.

"He didn't complain about the prison conditions," said Zevakhhin.

Trofimov was arrested at his home in Sihanoukville on October 17 and charged with

debauchery for having sex with an underage girl. His arrest followed a months long

investigation into a complaint by the parents of a 14-year-old Cambodian girl who

claimed she had been sold to the Russian by a middleman. The accused middleman Phal

Vannara was arrested on September 3.

Meanwhile, three Cambodian women were charged last week with accessory to trafficking

and debauchery, said Bith Kim Hong, chief of anti trafficking department of the Ministry

of Interior.

Hong said there are seven cases underway as part of the same investigation, although

only one charge has been made in a Phnom Penh court. Complaints about Trafimov have

been received from 12 family members of six other girls in Sihanoukville court.

"The cases will be tried separately from the one filed in Phnom Penh municipal

court," said Hong.

Investigative judge Iv Kim Sry said Trofimov will go to trial within six months.

He said the defendant has not been questioned since the first hearing at Phnom Penh

municipal court on the day after his arrest.

Sry said victims and some witnesses have been questioned but he declined to elaborate.

If he is found guilty, he could face up to 10-20 years in jail according to the Cambodian

law on debauchery.

Trofimov in September 2006 announced plans to develop Snake Island off Sihanoukville

with a $300 million investment. At this stage it is unclear whether plans will proceed.

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