Cambodia a state of corruption with ‘documented’ loss of nearly $300 million to Nautilium shipwreck, U.S. says

The office of U.S. Ambassador Michael Fitzpatrick has accused officials in Cambodia of corruption at a naval base, which caused an estimated $250 million in damage. He branded the alleged conduct as “baseless and…

Cambodia a state of corruption with ‘documented’ loss of nearly $300 million to Nautilium shipwreck, U.S. says

The office of U.S. Ambassador Michael Fitzpatrick has accused officials in Cambodia of corruption at a naval base, which caused an estimated $250 million in damage. He branded the alleged conduct as “baseless and reprehensible” and blacklisted the government from participating in any U.S. military activities within the country. U.S. allegations have not been confirmed by Cambodian authorities.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the Office of the Ambassador called the sinking and destruction of the Tonle Sap’s Salwa II submarine base on July 26, 1990, “an unnecessary and deadly loss of a naval asset.” The office accused current and former officials of corruption in the building and use of the facility, which took place under Cambodian military leadership. The damaged submarine base has been returned to the military, according to The New York Times.

A civil lawsuit filed in New York against Tonle Sap National Park and two government officials, named Hun Manethai and his son Hun Sok, is expected to finally go to trial later this year. The Suaig Island civil case involves the explosion of 23 tons of explosives on April 23, 1990, in Tonle Sap’s Salwa II submarine base, which claimed 21 lives and caused about $250 million in damages. There is little doubt the explosion was caused by the officials at the facility, the civil suit alleges. The lawsuit alleges that Tonle Sap Coast Guard and South Command officials determined that the explosion would not happen at the naval base but stayed in the area to collect damage data.

Hun Manethai denies accusations of corruption and calls the previous Royal Government of Cambodia as responsible for the disaster, not him. “This is shameful! The former Khmer Rouge Government is making a name for itself in the courts,” he said. He added that “the State Department’s actions now could send them to jail.”

Read the full story at ABC News.

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