The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions Wednesday against two members of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence, Chau Phirun and Tea Vinh, for their involvement in corruption in Cambodia.
While Chau Phirun is the Director-General of the Defence Ministry’s Material and Technical Services Department, Tea Vinh is the Commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy. The department alleged that in 2020 and 2021, Chau and Tea colluded to benefit personally from the operations related to the construction and updating of Ream Naval Base facilities by inflating the cost of those facilities. It also claimed that they conspired to split the money skimmed from the naval project.
Further, the department said that the US has long been committed to fighting corruption in Cambodia and that the country’s rising systematic corruption poses a threat to both US national security and Cambodia’s economic growth and prosperity. Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki said, “The United States will not stand by while corrupt officials personally benefit at the expense of the Cambodian people.”
The department made the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which gives the department the authority to sanction individuals and entities accused of human rights violations, including corruption. As a consequence of the sanctions, the properties of the sanctioned individuals in the US will be blocked. Furthermore, the sanctions will also forbid US citizens from dealing with them.
The treasury also prohibited the immediate family members of the sanctioned individuals from entering the US.