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Former general manager stands trial for $2m embezzlement

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Louv Kimhak arrives at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for his trial. KT/Siv Channa

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday began the trial for a former oil and gas company general manager accused of stealing nearly $2 million from the company between 2018 and 2019.

Municipal court judge Ros Piseth identified the accused as Louv Kimhak, 28, from the capital’s Chamkar Mon district. The plaintiff is Leng Hour, the owner of LHR Gasoline Company and the uncle of the accused.

Kimhak is charged with “breach of trust” under Articles 391 and 392 of the Criminal Code. If convicted, he faces between six months and three years in prison.

According to court documents, Kimhak began working at the company as an administrative staff in 2018. After nearly seven months of employment, he was promoted as the company’s general manager.

Per the position, Kimhak was in charge of overseeing the company’s finances and collecting profits sent by managers of LHR gas stations across the country, during which he allegedly embezzled a total of $1,806,807 from the company.

Mr Hour was said to have discovered the theft after an audit of financial reports in December last year. The tycoon later filed a lawsuit against Kimhak, which led to his arrest on January 29.

During yesterday’s hearing, Kimhak admitted to committing the offence.

“I confess that I am a gambler and I stole the money from the company after the owner gave me exclusive power to control, receive and transfer finances to the company’s bank account,” said Kimhak. “I used the stolen money to gamble at casinos in Kandal province. I also bet on cockfighting and online football. I lost them all.”

Kimhak requested for his sentence to be commuted or suspended and be released from prison so he can earn money and pay back the company.

Ouk Saroeun, the plaintiff’s lawyer, yesterday said: “To claim for damages, my client demands $1,806,807 from the accused, Kimhak. I ask the judge to change the charge from ‘breach of trust’ to ‘breach of special trust by administrators or other persons’ under Article 393 of the Criminal Code.”

According to the Criminal Code, anyone found guilty of violating Article 393 faces between two to five years in jail.

A verdict will be handed down on July 8.

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