A lawyer, who is a member of the Bar Association of Cambodia, has been disciplined to a six-month ban from operating his firm and ordered to pay back $260,000 after the association deemed him guilty of fraudulent use of client money.
Deputy Secretary General of the Bar Association Liv Sovanna told Khmer Times today that a client of the lawyer, identified as Lach Samrong, hired his firm’s services to facilitate the purchase of two plots of land.
“However, Samrong did not use the money paid to him in line with the agreed contract, instead using it for his own purposes. This resulted in his client filing a complaint demanding Samrong return the money,” he said.
“We have concluded that Samrong violated the lawyers’ code of conduct and must return the $260,000 to his client. He is also banned from operating his firm for six months,” Sovanna said.
He said after the client’s complaint, the Bar Association’s disciplinary commission asked Samrong to confirm how he had used the money, to prove it adhered to the contract agreed by both parties.
However, Samrong said the use of the money was confidential.
The decision from the association, signed by president Suon Visal which was received today, said the relationship between lawyer and a client is a contractual relationship, whereby the lawyer has to abide by the contract.
It said therefore, Samrong is still obliged to pay back the amount as per the association’s decision, regardless of whether he discloses how he used the money.