Cambodia diplomat to South Korea charged with fraud

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Suth Dina arriving at courtImage source, EPA
Image caption,
Suth Dina (right) denies the charges

Cambodia's ambassador to South Korea has been charged in Cambodia with a string of corruption offences.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) alleged Suth Dina had amassed $7.2m in cash, $3m more than when he began his tenure in Seoul in 2014.

They allege he made more than $100,000 (£72,000) selling visas and kept insurance payouts meant for Cambodian workers who died in South Korea.

Mr Dina denies the charges, which carry a possible sentence of 15 years.

He told reporters outside court on Thursday that his arrest on Monday was "unjust".

At a news conference in Phnom Penh, ACU head Om Yentieng said investigations into his finances had also uncovered 500 pieces of jewellery and 12.7 kg of gold, worth around $500,000.

He is also accused of misusing large amounts of official funds.

"We have a lot of evidence. Primarily that he embezzled money worth $116,995 by selling visa stickers," Om Yentieng told reporters.

Suth Dina is a former anti-government student activist who defected to Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party in 2009. He was made ambassador to Seoul in February 2014.

Cambodia is ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries by Transparency International.

Since its creation in 2011, the ACU has arrested dozens of people, including a foreign ministry official arrested last week for allegedly taking bribes from a overseas company.

Critics, however, accuse the body of being controlled by the ruling party. They say the ACU only targets only lower level officials or those who have fallen out of favour with the ruling elite.