Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday ordered former deputy prime minister Lu Lay Sreng to pay Prime Minister Hun Sen $125,000 in compensation for defamation.
Judge Y Thavrak said Mr Lay Sreng must also pay $2,000 to the state after he was convicted of defaming the premier.
Mr Lay Sreng was accused of defamation after saying Mr Hun Sen had offered $20,000 to each Funcinpec party official who was prepared to enter the National Assembly once the CNRP was dissolved.
He also allegedly insulted the King by comparing him to a castrated rooster and described Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh as a bad prince.
Mr Lay Sreng was tried in absentia because he fled the country after the defamation complaints were filed against him in October.
Mr Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech said Mr Lay Sreng could appeal if he disagreed with the court’s decision.
“The court provided justice to the Prime Minister and we welcome its decision,” said Mr Tech.
In October, lawyers for Mr Hun Sen, the Justice Ministry and Funcinpec filed three separate defamation lawsuits against Mr Lay Sreng.
One day before the complaints, Mr Hun Sen told about 4,000 garment workers at Koh Pich that Mr Lay Sreng insulted the King.
“He insulted the King by comparing him to a capon,” Mr Hun Sen said. “It was a very serious insult.”
Mr Lay Sreng’s comments were carried in a voice recording on the notorious “Seyha” Facebook page, which is often behind high-profile leaks.
Fresh News later published three recordings of Mr Lay Sreng, a former senior official of the royalist Funcinpec party, making the defamatory comments in a conversation with a woman named as Ky Lum Ang.
Mr Lay Sreng could not be reached for comment yesterday.