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Court Upholds Ruling on Exiled Prince

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to uphold a prison sentence and fine against Prince Norodom Ranariddh on charges of breach of trust, for the sale of the Funcinpec party headquarters in 2006.

Prince Ranariddh, who lives in exile, and whose self-named party appears to have one two seats in the National Aseembly, faces an 18-month prison sentence and $150,000 fine if he returns to Cambodia.

Supreme Court Judge Khem Pon said Wednesday the court was denying a request to drop the charges against the prince, upholding decisions by Phnom Penh Municipal and Appeals courts.

The Appeals Court verdict was "fully valid," Khem Pon said in the decision, which was reached by a five-judge panel after deliberations Wednesday morning.

The charges stem from the $3.6 million sale of Funcinpec's headquarters in northern Phnom Penh when Prince Ranariddh was president of the party.

Party officials say he sold the headquarters without consulting them and further claim he kept some of the profits for himself.

Prince Ranariddh has said the decision against him was made by politically biased courts.