U.S. Announces Public Designation of Cambodian Officials for Corruption

Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC
Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC

U.S. Announces Public Designation of Cambodian Officials for Corruption

The Department of the Treasury also has designated Chau and Tea for their roles in public corruption.

The U.S. Department of State has announced the public designation of Chau Phirun (Chau), Director-General of the Defense Ministry’s Material and Technical Services Department, and Tea Vinh (Tea), Royal Cambodian Navy Commander, due to their involvement in significant corruption.  

In their official capacities as Director-General of the Defense Ministry’s Material and Technical Services Department and Royal Cambodian Navy Commander, respectively, Chau and Tea were involved in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law and the Cambodian public’s faith in their government institutions and public processes, including by using their political influence and official power for personal benefit. 

In 2020 and 2021, Chau conspired to profit from activities regarding the construction and updating of Ream Naval Base facilities. Additionally, Chau and other Cambodian government officials likely conspired to inflate the cost of facilities at Ream Naval Base and personally benefit from the proceeds.

These designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021. In addition to Chau and Tea, the State Department publicly designated Chau Pirith, son of Chau; Chau Puleak, son of Chau; Kan Chantrea, spouse of Tea; Tier Leakhena, daughter of Tea; and Tea Sokha, son of Tea. This action renders Chau, Tea, and these immediate family members, ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Department of the Treasury also has designated Chau and Tea for their roles in public corruption, pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

According to a statement released on November 10 by the State Department, these actions reaffirm the U.S. commitment to supporting the Cambodian people and their aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, and equitable future.  

The statement added that the United States stands with all Cambodians whose work advances reforms, and the Department will continue to use its authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in the region and globally.

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Rakesh Raman