“I really don’t see the harm in that anyways,” he said. Cyprus seems less strict. “It just means that you have to investigate further their source of funds.”. It could now be worth at least £3.5 million, estimates the real estate website Zoopla. JWPegasus described itself to Reuters as a “solid company” that has created hundreds of jobs.  That's about €3.5 million per application. In 1993 elections the royalist party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the son of head of state King Norodom Sihanouk, outpolled Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). He sought Cypriot citizenship along with two of his daughters in 2017. Aun Pornmoniroth | Hun Sen’s longtime financial adviser and current finance minister. Last year, Human Rights Watch named him as one of 12 generals who form “the backbone of an abusive and authoritarian political regime.” The Cambodian defense ministry called the report “fabricated.” Neth Savoeun is also a senior member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

The remainder can be invested in Cypriot companies, and need only be parked there temporarily. “Cyprus,” she gushed, “you’ve been AMAZING! Some conservationists and other critics say it has fueled a property boom that has priced out ordinary Cypriots and harmed the environment. The man confessed and is serving a life sentence.

The post seemed to strike a nerve. But he couldn’t help himself. The citizenship for sale programme took off in 2013 after a banking crisis almost wiped out Cyprus’s economy.

In the parliamentary elections of 2008, the CPP again emerged victorious, with three-fourths of the assembly seats, and Hun Sen entered yet another term as Cambodia’s prime minister. But a Reuters investigation shows that those closest to Hun Sen have done exactly that.
This gives her the right to live, work and travel without visas in 28 EU countries. Another of Choeung and Lau’s companies was embroiled in the eviction of thousands of families from a development site in Phnom Penh; many of those who protested the evictions were beaten and jailed.

The next day, the Cambodian National Police issued a statement, saying that Neth Savoeun would never “escape to another country, never betray the nation.”.

REUTERS/Stringer, Cambodia's national police chief Neth Savoeun, centre, in full uniform at a Ministry of Interior event in Phnom Penh in February. Each invested at least €2 million. Andreas Demetriades & Co. was second. Yet many relatives with the Hun family name flaunt their wealth on social media accounts.

Reuters reporting shows that his firm handled the applications of the Cambodian finance minister, Aun; the leading business couple, Choeung and Lau; and their family members. Hun Chantha | Another of the prime minister’s nieces. She co-owns London properties worth millions of dollars and takes private jets to posh European resorts.

The company, called JWPegasus, was incorporated in Cyprus in May 2015 to help fund the construction of a Radisson Blu hotel in Larnaca, the country’s third-largest city.



In a series of reports in the early 2000s, Global Witness, a London-based anti-corruption group, used aerial surveys and field inspections to document years of illegal logging by Pheapimex. Choeung and Lau were issued with Cypriot passports in February 2017, Reuters reporting showed. Red envelopes of cash are traditionally handed out as gifts at Chinese New Year, an occasion the couple used to give money to thousands of soldiers, police and Hun Sen bodyguards who gathered outside their mansion in Phnom Penh, according to local media reports. The Cypriot government denied this, but has also tweaked the programme. Nor did it respond to questions about its vetting procedure for these prominent Cambodians. Red envelopes of cash are traditionally handed out as gifts at Chinese New Year, an occasion the couple used to give money to thousands of soldiers, police and Hun Sen bodyguards who gathered outside their mansion in Phnom Penh, according to local media reports.

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. The next day, the Cambodian National Police issued a statement, saying that Neth Savoeun would never “escape to another country, never betray the nation.”. Yet one of the daughters named in the interior ministry document, Vichhuna Neth, 26, appears to be independently wealthy. REUTERS/Stringer. It also recommends that the cabinet grant citizenship to her husband, Neth Savoeun, and two of their grown-up daughters.

One Cambodian with overseas assets is the prime minister’s niece, Hun Kimleng. The documents take the form of a letter, in which the interior minister summarizes an application for Cypriot citizenship and recommends the cabinet approve it. The idea of the Cyprus Investment Programme was “to further encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and do business in Cyprus,” according to the Ministry of Interior’s website.

Most Cambodians were “happy and congratulated us,” Hun Panhaboth told Reuters. Which of these nations does not border Thailand? REUTERS/Stringer, A billboard near Paphos advertises real estate in Chinese.

The document detailing the citizenship of Hun Kimleng and her family is part of a tranche of interior ministry documents that Reuters has seen.

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. These documents show that other members of Hun Sen’s inner circle have also received or applied for Cypriot passports. The United States called the election “the most significant setback yet” to Cambodian democracy. At no point in the application process is the applicant compelled to live in – or even visit – Cyprus. However, asked if any of his recommendations were rejected by the cabinet, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides told Reuters: “No . The post seemed to strike a nerve. Hun Chantha also co-owns London apartments worth £5 million, property records show. The cabinet always accepts the ministry’s recommendation, Cyprus’s interior minister told Reuters.

At no point in the application process is the applicant compelled to live in – or even visit – Cyprus. The main opposition party had just been outlawed, the latest move in Hun Sen’s campaign to eradicate his political rivals. “There are countries which have political instability – where people feel that their families and their business interests are in jeopardy. The remainder can be invested in Cypriot companies, and need only be parked there temporarily.

Turmoil ensued. The company that has processed the most applications is the giant accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers; it handled 184 applications during that period with what PwC Cyprus calls “robust client screening and acceptance processes.”. One Cambodian with overseas assets is the prime minister’s niece, Hun Kimleng.

Twenty of them applied through Andreas Demetriades & Co., the law firm. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

REUTERS/Stringer, Hun Sen planting rice in 2008. These detail thousands of applications for Cypriot passports by wealthy foreigners. JWPegasus declined to comment on individual investors but said that, to its knowledge, none of them had “any illegal activities.” Radisson Blu said that its due diligence, carried out before doing business with JWPegasus, “did not reveal any suspicious activity at that time.”.

Hun Panhaboth, the son of another niece, gave his girlfriend a Mercedes-Benz for her birthday, according to photos on Facebook.
Hun Panhaboth, the son of another niece, defended his lifestyle in messages sent to Reuters through Facebook. In September 2017, three months before the interior ministry’s document was issued, she bought a London apartment near her mother’s, according to British property records.

Photo from Vichhuna Neth’s Instagram, Vichhuna Neth and Hun Chantha, one of the prime minister’s nieces, display their watches on Instagram. REUTERS/Andrew RC Marshall, A beach near the village of Pegeia in Cyprus. He returned to Cambodia after the Vietnamese installed a new government in 1979 and was made minister of foreign affairs. Each applicant must invest at least €2 million in Cyprus. Business and property databases in Cyprus are often out of date, incomplete or closed to public access.

He said he didn’t tell his clients which companies to invest in because his firm also did due diligence on those companies, which could create a conflict of interest. Where those funds end up in Cyprus is also hard to track.

Not far inland, on the top floor of a Paphos low-rise, is a family law firm called Andreas Demetriades & Co. Since May, applicants must keep the bulk of their investment in Cyprus for five years instead of three. The United Nations sought to bring the perpetrators to justice before an international tribunal, but Hun Sen insisted on relying on the Cambodian court system. And while the prime minister spoke about eating grass, Instagram showed some relatives feasting on caviar in London. In February, responding to his crackdown, the European Union began a process that could suspend Cambodia’s special trade preferences, potentially damaging industries that employ hundreds of thousands of workers.


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