A former aid worker who helped Angelina Jolie adopt her son Maddox claims he can’t be “100% sure” that he was an orphan.
Sarath Mounh, who ran an NGO in Cambodia, became a close friend of the Hollywood star during her visits to the country from which Maddox was adopted.
He also played a part in the adoption process by signing legal documents stating that he was Maddox’s real father, which he is not, in order to get it approved more quickly by the Cambodian courts, although there are no suggestions that Jolie would believe in. height.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Mounh told MailOnline: “I’m not 100% sure Maddox was an orphan even though he came from an orphanage. At least one of the parents may have been alive at the time of his adoption. But I never asked these difficult questions, no one has.
Sarath Mounh ran an NGO in Cambodia and was friends with Angelina Jolie in 2002 around the time she adopted her eldest son Maddox. Pictured: Mr Mounh with Jolie and Maddox
Mr. Mounh (pictured with Jolie and Maddox) played a part in Maddox’s adoption because of his friendship with the star and signed the papers stating that he was the boy’s father, even though he wasn’t, to make it clear. speed up the process in court, although there is no suggestion that Jolie was aware of this
Now Mr Mounh has come forward to say he cannot be sure that despite being held in a Cambodian orphanage that both of Maddox’s parents were dead at the time of the adoption
Jolie shares six children with her ex-husband Brad Pitt. Pictured here in 2019 with her daughter Zahara (left), 16, who she adopted from Ethiopia and Maddox (right), now 19
‘This happened a lot in Cambodia. There were many babies left in orphanages or sold to them by their parents because they couldn’t afford to take care of them.”
Kek Galibru, head of the human rights organization Licadho, which was investigating the adoption, said at the time: “I’m sure this child was not a real orphan and was not abandoned.”
Mr Mounh is pictured as a baby with Maddoxox
However, Jolie, 46, said she made every effort to verify that Maddox had no living parents and has always maintained that he was an orphan.
She said, ‘I would never deprive a mother of her child. I can only imagine how awful that would feel.’
But Mr Mounh’s new questions come like a new documentary that will investigate whether babies in Cambodia have been stolen from their families and put up for adoption.
Filmmaker Elizabeth Jacobs, 21, will revisit the claim that ‘poor Cambodian families are being harassed by baby recruiters’ in her documentary The Stolen Children.
Elizabeth’s parents used the services of adoption agent Lauryn Galindo, the same woman who famously used Jolie to adopt Maddox in 2002.
At the time, Galindo and her sister Lynn Devin ran an adoption agency called Seattle International Adoptions, and shortly after Maddox’s adoption, they faced criminal charges.
Devin was fined $150,000 for forging documents to obtain U.S. visas for “orphans,” while Galindo was jailed for 18 months in 2004 for the same crime and money laundering.
When the scandal came to light, the US government and several other countries shut down adoptions from Cambodia, with Jolie saying she knew nothing about the illegal trade. There is no evidence that Maddox was not an orphan.
Lauryn Galindo (pictured) ran an adoption agency called Seattle International Adoptions and organized Maddox’s famous adoption for Jolie. In 2004, Galindo was sentenced to 18 months in prison for forging documents to obtain US visas for “orphans” and for money laundering
But Mr Mounh told MailOnline: ‘When it comes to money, anything is possible. This is what I always heard from Angelina’s environment: ‘Make it happen.’
He added: “Angelina has not become personally involved. It was the people around her who handled the process and asked me for help.’
Mr Mounh revealed that he had been asked to become involved in the adoption because of his friendship with Jolie and because of his influence in Battambang province, in northwestern Cambodia, where his NGO was based. His organization implemented several projects such as education programs for children, funding for poor farmers and health campaigns. These were all aimed at villagers in northeast Cambodia.
Filmmaker Elizabeth Jacobs, 21, is making a new documentary called The Stolen Children
Referring to the documentary, Mr Mounh said: ‘I hope it exposes the whole adoption system in Cambodia at the time. But I don’t want Maddox to be emotionally hurt by this.
“His adoption was accepted by law, but to this day I can’t say for sure if he was an orphan, I don’t think anyone can. But I don’t want him to be damaged by what can come out.”
He added: “I want Maddox to have a good life and a bright future. I still love him and Angelina very much, even though I haven’t seen them in a long time.’
Mr Mounh revealed that he was asked to sign documents stating that he was Maddox’s father. There is no suggestion that Jolie was aware that Mr Mounh missigned any documents.
He added: “It is true that it was misleading when I signed the adoption papers. I was afraid this wasn’t fair, but I felt obliged to sign the papers. My friendship with Angelina made me want to help her as best I could. She was also a donor to my organization.’
Jolie provided $300,000 in funding for his NGO, with plans to donate another $1.2 million, and often came to see his work in Battambang province. Her own charity foundation for Cambodia is also based in the same area.
Mr Mounh, 55, met Angelina in 2000 after being introduced by the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, for whom he did extensive work helping refugees resettle after Cambodia’s brutal civil war.
Jolie plays with Maddox on a hotel balcony on December 30, 2002 in California 2002
Jolie is a UNHCR Special Envoy and showed special interest in Mr Mounh’s NGO, Cambodia Vision in Development (CVD), which has now been shut down.
He added: ‘Since 2000, she spent a lot of time in Cambodia, visiting our projects and we often stayed overnight together. Angelina had a lot of love for my country.
“She became a very good friend and spoke openly with me about her desire to help my organization and her hope for Maddox.”
Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt share joint custody of their six children, twins Vivienne and Knox, 12, Shiloh, 15, Maddox, 19, Zahara, 16 and Pax, 17.
Jolie and her ex-husband Pitt are pictured with Maddox at the 2009 premiere of the movie ‘Invictus’
In addition to Maddox, Jolie adopted Zahara in Ethiopia and Pax in Vietnam.
Mr. Mounh’s youngest son, Makara, is the same age as Maddox, and he remembers how he and Jolie talked about raising them as “brothers” during her visits to Cambodia.
He added: “I wanted them to grow up together and Angelina and I would talk about this. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.’
Mr Mounh and Jolie got into an argument after allegations against him that he misused money she donated.
But he hit back: “I can justify every dollar given to my organization. I know Angelina has nothing against me, and I still consider her a friend. It was the people around her that caused trouble between us.’
He last saw the Hollywood star and Maddox in 2003 when they visited Cambodia.
Mr Mounh added: ‘I’m following their lives closely through the media and would like to get in touch with them again, but I don’t know how. I still have a lot of respect and love for them both.’
Mr Mounh fled Cambodia in 2017, fearing for his life due to his political activities against the ruling government. He now lives in Canada with his wife and three children.
MailOnline has reached out to Ms Jolie’s representatives for comment.