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Tycoon’s showdown with ‘wife’ hits Supreme Court

Lay Huong leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a hearing earlier this year.
Lay Huong leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a hearing earlier this year. Pha Lina

Tycoon’s showdown with ‘wife’ hits Supreme Court

A lawyer for Lay Huong, the former common-law wife of tycoon Khaou Phallaboth, yesterday urged the Supreme Court to uphold decisions made by both the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the Appeal Court and dismiss a “breach of trust” complaint lodged against her by her ex-partner.

Phallaboth accuses Huong of unlawfully acquiring land in Mondulkiri via the company Khaou Chuly Development, a firm once co-owned by the pair, the court heard.

Further, he alleged that Huong, 59, used the company’s equipment – including bulldozers, gasoline and rubber saplings – to clear and develop the land for her own private gain.

Two former employees of Khaou Chuly Development – Heng Sok, 51, and Lay Chhay, 44 – are being tried as accomplices.

The case was dismissed by both lower courts. Unhappy with the verdict, Phallaboth, via his lawyer Nheb Sokhoeum, pursued the matter to the Supreme Court. In a submission to the hearing, Sokhoeum, who was yesterday absent, called the previous decisions to drop the case “unfair”.

Meanwhile, lawyer for the accused Chea Chanravy asked the judges to drop the complaint, a position backed by deputy prosecutor Ouk Kimseth, who said Huong was within her rights to buy the land and use the machinery.

Huong and Phallaboth – convicted earlier this year for orchestrating the attempted rape and murder of the wife and daughter of Transportation Minister Sun Chanthol – have been engaged in a long-running legal battle following a messy split in 2013.

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