A military court on Wednesday began the hearing of the former bodyguard chief of ruling party president Chea Sim.
Chhoeun Chanthan was arrested with three other bodyguards in August 2011 and charged with faking documents in a $2 million embezzlement scheme, as well as possession of illegal weapons. A verdict is expected next week.
Police seized weapons and ammunition in an Aug. 13 raid last year in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district.
Chhoeun Chanthan, a 41-year-old former lieutenant general, denied the charges against him, as he was questioned for most of the day over an arms cash and for allegedly pocketing some $2 million that was meant for the construction of a bodyguard building.
He told the court he was given weapons by the head of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, Heng Bunheang, to protect Chea Sim, the head of both the Senate and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Narch Try, a laywer for Chea Sim and the Ministry of Defense, said Chea Sim is asking the court for $2.5 million from Chhoeun Chanthan, with additional compensation of $50,000 in addition jail time.
Puth Thearvy, defense for Chhoeun Chanthan, said his client was being charged despite a shortage of evidence and urged his release.