Cambodian charity threatens Jolie with lawsuit


PHNOM PENH - A Cambodian charity threatened Wednesday to sue actress Angelina Jolie for breach of contract, saying the Hollywood star had reneged on a promise to give $1.5 million over five years to wildlife conservation.

However, Stephan Bognar, the Cambodia-based head of the star's Maddox Jolie Pitt Project, said the relationship with Cambodian Vision in Development (CVD) had ended amicably in December because their aid work was "moving on to a new level."

"Angelina and I will be unveiling our new program and commitment to Cambodia in about a month," Bognar told Reuters from the western town of Battambang.

Much of the organization's work would center around community development, rather than wildlife conservation, he said.

Besides accusing Jolie of breaking funding promises, CVD head Mounh Sarath said his organization had taken exception to reported suggestions from Jolie's lawyer that CVD had misappropriated some of her donations and was considering a libel action.

"I have been asking Jolie and her lawyer to give me an appropriate answer, but so far no answer," Mounh Sarath told Reuters from Battambang.

"Now I give her one week and if there is still no answer I will a file suit in the local court of Battambang."

The Oscar-winning actress, who adopted a Cambodian son, Maddox, in 2002, was granted special citizenship of the war-scarred southeast Asian nation last year in recognition of her environmental contributions.

In 2003, Mounh Sarath said Jolie had paid out $350,000 to kick off a long-term project to set up a 20,000 hectare (50,000 acre) wildlife sanctuary in a jungle-clad area once controlled by Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge.

It is not clear how much more money was paid out.