CNRP TV Raises $1.5M, Abandons Share Sales Model

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Thursday that he had secured pledges of at least $1.5 million in funding for the opposition’s planned television station, but had been forced to abandon a share-selling model to raise the funds.

A private company created by the CNRP last year received a broadcasting license to begin operating the country’s first opposition-run station, and Mr. Rainsy returned Wednesday from a trip to sell $1,000 shares in the company to expatriate supporters of the CNRP in Europe, Canada and the U.S.

“For the first six months [of operations], we will meet $1.5 million,” Mr. Rainsy said. “I am confident, when I was in the U.S., that many people said they wanted to invest and help the party and I have no suspicions or fears, but now we have to do things legally so we don’t get in trouble.”

The opposition leader explained that the CNRP’s company had been told it could not sell shares in the company without following the proper legal procedures.

“The CNRP has received a notice from the Cambodian Stock Exchange commission that any company that wants to collect money from the public has to fill in their forms and follow their procedures, which we have not,” Mr. Rainsy said.

“Therefore, we will stop asking the private company to raise funds. The party will now ask for people to give donations to the party, to remit money to the party, and the party will then invest the money in the private company.”

“The party is entitled to receive money as donations, and it is up to the party to invest that money as it wishes.”

In the future, when the CNRP TV starts turning a profit, Mr. Rainsy said, it would approach the Cambodia Securities Exchange to properly list and issue shares to those who had intended to buy shares in the television station.

“If it is an investment, and they want to receive a return, we will follow up with those names who have donated in multiples of $1,000 investments and they will receive the relevant number of shares in due course,” Mr. Rainsy said.

Mr. Rainsy said the CNRP was entitled to collect and invest money as it wished under the Law on Political Parties, and that this method of fundraising did not violate any laws.

Lamun Soleil, the deputy director of Cambodia Securities Exchange, said he was not aware of his institution having had any contact with the CNRP and declined to comment on the legality of Mr. Rainsy’s new scheme to raise funds.

“This does not involve my market, but it’s the jurisdiction of state institutions to implement any laws,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Kuch Naren)

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