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US ‘to freeze officials’ assets’: Kem Monovithya

Former CNRP official Kem Monovithya meets with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy in January to discuss the possibility of further sanctions against the Cambodian government. Facebook
Former CNRP official Kem Monovithya meets with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy in January to discuss the possibility of further sanctions against the Cambodian government. Facebook

US ‘to freeze officials’ assets’: Kem Monovithya

Opposition figure Kem Monovithya claimed yesterday in a speech in California that asset freezes of top Cambodian officials by the United States government were imminent, though she did not elaborate on the specifics.

Monovithya’s father, Kem Sokha, was arrested in September on widely decried charges of “treason” while serving as president of the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party. The CNRP was summarily dissolved two months later.

In response, the Trump administration cut aid to Cambodia’s election body, instituted visa bans against certain Cambodian officials and said more sanctions may be on the table.

“They will continue banning visas of other officials and also freeze assets of senior government officials,” Monovithya told CNRP supporters in Long Beach. She did not elaborate on the source of her information, and declined to comment yesterday.

In response, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan, who is a dual American citizen, pointed to comments made previously by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who said he welcomed sanctions.

“We are not concerned . . . My prime minister has no assets in the US,” he said.

When asked about individuals, including himself, who might have assets, Siphan said that is a “private matter”.

The money he has in the US, he said, was earned there and is unrelated to his role with the Cambodian government.

“I did nothing wrong with that one,” he said.

Siphan also said he did not believe asset freezes would ever come, and claimed that the US wouldn’t want to risk “collateral damage” that would come from Cambodia imposing reciprocal sanctions. “We can take action against them too,” he said.

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