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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials mum over Polonsky extradition

Russian real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky pictured after his arrest in Sihanoukville in late December
Russian real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky pictured after his arrest in Sihanoukville in late December. AFP

Officials mum over Polonsky extradition

Officials were silent yesterday on whether Russia has asked them to extradite property tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who is wanted over allegations that he defrauded investors in a Moscow construction project of $176 million.

Radio station Voice of Russia reported on Tuesday that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office would “demand” that Cambodia extradite Polonsky – who is awaiting trial on separate charges here.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Polonsky urged Interpol agents to visit him on his luxury island resort, Koh Dek Koul, off Sihanoukville, if they wanted to speak with him.

“I am always open to communication and at the same time ask and insist on a meeting with representatives of Interpol on my beautiful island,” he wrote.

Keo Vanthan, director of Interpol at the Ministry of Interior, could not be reached yesterday but said in June that Polonsky’s trial in Cambodia must be held before any extradition discussions take place.

Polonsky was arrested with two other Russians last December and charged with using a knife to threaten six boatmen and force them to jump overboard in waters off Sihanoukville. He was released on bail in April on the condition that he report regularly to officials in the coastal city. But reports – and his own Facebook updates – suggested he then travelled to Israel.

When the businessman allegedly returned to Cambodia in August, reports suggested Russia had intended to ask Israel to extradite him.

The businessman faces intentional violence charges in Cambodia that could bring him three years in prison.

Sar Lina, the investigating judge in Polonsky’s trial in Sihanoukville, said yesterday that she finished work on the case last month and had turned it over to the court’s president.

“But I have no idea when the trial will begin,” she said.

Court president Mong Monichakrya said he was looking for a judge to assign to the case but did not specify when the trial would be heard.

The businessman’s public relations team, Polonsky Press, did not return emails by deadline.

The Russian embassy in Phnom Penh declined to comment.

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