A property tycoon was yesterday convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to two years in prison for issuing a bad $1 million cheque to another property tycoon in Phnom Penh in June.
Judge Heng Sokna said Oknha Chuob Chan, the 41-year-old president of Ratanak Sambath Co Ltd, was charged with issuing a bad cheque after being arrested in November 2016 by the Interior Ministry’s penal police.
Mr Chan was sued by Oknha Kim Kao, the president of Kim Hap Co Ltd, a real estate company building apartments and villas in Phnom Penh.
The court also ordered him to pay a total of $1 million for damages and another $50,000 in compensation to the plaintiff.
“The court sentences him to two years in prison,” the judge said.
Mr Kao’s defence lawyer Viroath Sophong said his client purchased about half a hectare of land along the Mekong River in Chamkarmon district for $4.7 million from the accused in 2013.
Mr Sophong said the land was confiscated by the government after a Council of Ministers sub-decree dated October 10, 2016, handed the land over to villagers, who had been living on the disputed ground.
He said that to claim damages, his client negotiated and compromised with Mr Chan.
The accused agreed to refund $3.5 million in damages, issuing a cheque for $1 million as the first payment and telling Mr Kao to collect the money on June 30, 2017.
“But when my client took the cheque to the bank, there was no currency in his account as written,” he told the court. “My client tried to contact him and asked him for payment, but he still hasn’t paid.”
Mr Sophong added that his client demanded an extra $500,000 in compensation, on top of the $350,000 already owed.
During the trial, Mr Chan admitted to issuing the plaintiff a bad cheque.
“The reason I did not return the money to the plaintiff is because he did not transfer the land title back to me,” he said.