Fugitive Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky was arrested today on the island of Koh Damlong on an expired visa, in a lead-up to his deportation to Russia, an immigration official said.
The Russian goverment has been lobbying for his return for more than a year.
Ouk Heiseila, director of investigations at the Immigration Department, said Polonsky is being held at the department and would be deported to Russia in a week.
"We arrested him because he has stayed illegally in Cambodia for more than two years" on an expired visa, he said.
"Cambodia will implement the law of immigration to deport him to his own country," he said. He added that the Ministry of Interior would issue a letter and the procedure would take one week.
The news comes a day after it emerged that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked the Ministry of Justice to review an ongoing extradition request from Moscow. It precedes an official trip to Russia by some of Cambodia’s top-ranking politicians, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Reportedly once one of the richest men in Russia, Polonsky has been living on Koh de Koul – one of eight private islands he owns off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province. He is wanted in Russia on fraud and embezzlement charges and has so far managed to evade an Interpol warrant for his arrest.
In April 2014, Cambodia’s Supreme Court dismissed a request to extradite Polonsky due to the lack of an extradition treaty between the countries.
However, since then negotiations have been ongoing between the two nations, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying an agreement was “in a high degree of readiness”, following a meeting in early March with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong.