Tycoon’s Ex-Partner Grilled Over Breach of Trust

Lay Huong, who was imprisoned last month for her suspected involvement in a plot to rape and murder the wife and daughter of the country’s commerce minister, was questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday over a separate breach of trust complaint.

Ms. Huong, 49, who in recent years has had a spectacular falling out with her former common-law husband, construction magnate Khaou Phallaboth, was questioned over a complaint he filed with the court claiming that she misused equipment belonging to the Khaou Chuly Group while clearing a tract of land in Mondolkiri province in 2011.

“I questioned her for about two hours this morning. It was a new accusation against her in a complaint filed by her husband,” said Investigating Judge Mong Mony Sorphea at the courthouse.

“She denied the accusation of breach of trust and she said that she was going to ask her lawyer to send [exculpatory] evidence to the court,” he said.

According to a copy of the court’s investigation order, Mr. Phallaboth claims that Ms. Huong, along with her brother and a colleague, purchased a plot of land using the name of the Khaou Chuly Group—founded by Mr. Phallaboth’s octogenarian father—and proceeded to use company machinery to clear the land in Pech Chreada district.

The order says that Ms. Huong and Heng Sokchea, 50, then an executive at the company, bought and cleared the land without the company’s permission and sold the plot to Lay Chhay, 44, Ms. Huong’s brother.

Outside the investigating judge’s chambers on Wednesday, Ms. Huong denied using company machinery for a personal project and said she purchased her own equipment to clear the land in Mondolkiri.

“[Mr. Phallaboth] just filed complaints against me to drive me crazy,” she said. “I did not do anything wrong. He filed a complaint against me to make himself happy.”

Ms. Huong was extradited from Thailand last month after being arrested by Thai police for her alleged role in a June 2010 plot to break into the Phnom Penh villa of Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol and rape and murder his daughter and wife, who is Mr. Phallaboth’s sister.

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