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Corruption Case for Cambodian-Born US Navy Commander To Open in February

U.S. navy officer Michael "Vannak Khem" Misiewicz becomes emotional as he embraces his aunt Samrith Sokha, 72, at Cambodian coastal international sea port of Sihanoukville, file photo.

WASHINGTON DC - A US federal court in February will begin the corruption case of a Cambodian-born US naval officer in February, a justice official said.

Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz has not pled guilty, Kelly Thornton, a spokeswoman for the US attorney in Southern California, where the trial will be held, said.

“He has posted bond and is no longer in custody,” Thornton said.

Misiewicz is accused of providing sensitive government information to regional defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which then allegedly bilked the Navy out of millions of dollars.

Prosecutors allege that Misiewicz accepted prostitutes and luxury travel in return for the information, Thornton said.

Misiewicz, who was born in Kandal province but grew up in the United States, docked in Cambodia in 2010 to a tearful homecoming. But the allegations in his corruption case have since spread, leading to the arrests of senior military officials in a widening scandal.

A guilty verdict would ruin his career, officials told VOA Khmer.

Prom Saunora, a political analyst in Virginia who has been following the case, said US prosecutors will make their investigations, and a US court will make its judgment based on the evidence provided.

Schanley Kuch, an analyst in Maryland, said the US courts are “trustworthy,” and will not make a judgement “based on money, bribery” or Misiewicz’s military rank.

Misiewicz’s attorney did not reply to requests for an interview.