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‘Cambodian PM heads huge business empire’

AFP
Published : Jul 8, 2016, 7:07 am IST
Updated : Jul 8, 2016, 7:07 am IST

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family have built a multi-million-dollar business empire spanning the impoverished country’s most lucrative sectors, a watchdog said Thursday, warning foreign

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family have built a multi-million-dollar business empire spanning the impoverished country’s most lucrative sectors, a watchdog said Thursday, warning foreign investors against bankrolling his regime.

Hun Sen, a former Army commander who defected from the Khmer Rouge, has dominated Cambodia’s political scene during a 31-year reign marred by accusations of corruption, electoral fraud and rampant rights abuses.

During that time the wily Premier has also used his position to hand control of swaths of the country’s economy to his family, the UK-based watchdog Global Witness detailed in a report Thursday. Hun Sen and his relatives have amassed more than $200 million through their interests in 114 private companies, according to the report, which cited data from the country’s ministry of commerce.

The family’s firms span Cambodia’s trade, finance, energy and media industries, with business links to major global brands such as Visa, Apple and Honda, the report said.

“Behind the scenes of Hun Sen’s dictatorial reign, his family is amassing vast personal fortunes,” the watchdog said, describing a “huge network of secret deal-making, corruption and cronyism which is helping secure the prime minister’s political fortress”.

The Premier’s eldest daughter, a media mogul, has the biggest portfolio in the family with interests in 22 companies, 18 of which list her as chair or director, the report added.

Location: Cambodia, Phnom Penh