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Posted by: | Posted on: October 16, 2019

HOW RELATIVES AND ALLIES OF CAMBODIA’S LEADER AMASSED WEALTH OVERSEAS

“Everyone is making an escape plan.” A Cambodian government insider. Becoming a Cypriot isn’t cheap: It involves an investment of at least €2 million ($2.2 million). Between 2013 and 2018, the country granted citizenship to 3,200 foreigners under its Cyprus Investment Programme, raking in €6.6 billion

“Everyone is making escape plan.” Source from CPP insider

How relatives and allies of Cambodia’s leader amassed wealth overseas

Khmer Riche by Reuter Investigation News

On Instagram and Facebook, Hun Sen’s family and associates chart their life of luxury

Cambodia’s ruling elite are patriots who would never hide money abroad, says the country’s leader, Hun Sen. But a Reuters investigation shows that Hun Sen’s family and officials have overseas assets worth tens of millions of dollars, and some have bought themselves European citizenship.

By CLARE BALDWIN and ANDREW RC MARSHALL in NICOSIA, CYPRUS/LONDON

Filed Oct. 16, 2019, 11 a.m. GMT

Cambodia’s long-ruling prime minister, Hun Sen, had gathered athletes at his imposing office for a televised pep talk. “I don’t want to mention politics,” he began quietly.

But he couldn’t help himself. It was December 2017. The main opposition party had just been outlawed, the latest move in Hun Sen’s campaign to eradicate his political rivals. The United States and European Union were threatening sanctions, and Hun Sen had a message for them.

“Just do it now if you are brave enough,” he taunted, bristling with outrage. There was no point in the West trying to seize the foreign assets of Cambodian officials, he went on, because they “wouldn’t be so damn stupid as to keep their assets overseas.”

But a Reuters investigation shows that those closest to Hun Sen have done exactly that. Family members and key police, business and political associates have overseas assets worth tens of millions of dollars, and have used their wealth to buy foreign citizenship – a practice Hun Sen has decried as unpatriotic and at times has sought to outlaw.

Among those who have acquired or applied for European Union passports through a citizenship for sale arrangement in Cyprus are: Hun Sen’s niece and her husband, who is Cambodia’s national police chief; the country’s most powerful business couple, who are old family friends; and the finance minister, a long-time Hun Sen adviser.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, pictured here with his bodyguards in 1997, is one of the world’s longest serving leaders. REUTERS/Stringer
Prime Minister Hun Sen casts his vote in Cambodia’s 2018 general election. With the opposition largely silenced, his party won every single seat. REUTERS/Stringer

“Everyone is making an escape plan.”A Cambodian government insider

Photos on social media also show Hun Sen’s relatives enjoying luxurious European lifestyles – boating in Capri, skiing in Verbier, partying in Ibiza – which are at odds with the prime minister’s self-styled image as the humble leader of ordinary Cambodians.

Hun Sen is 67 and has ruled Cambodia with an iron fist for more than three decades. He has jailed or exiled political rivals, shut down media outlets and crushed street protests. Only three men have controlled their countries for longer: the presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo. If Hun Sen stepped down tomorrow, Vladimir Putin would have to rule Russia for another 15 years to match his time in power.

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