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Polonsky ‘in custody’ in Russia

Former fugitive tycoon Sergei Polonsky was detained by Russian security forces in Moscow on Sunday evening after being deported from Cambodia, Russian media reported yesterday.

He is reportedly being held at the notorious Matrosskaya Tishina detention centre, a Russian Interior Ministry spokeswoman told the country’s TASS news agency.

“Investigative actions will begin on Monday [yesterday] morning,” she said.

Polonsky is wanted in Russia for allegedly embezzling more than $170 million from real estate investors and was placed on Interpol’s watchlist in 2013.

His wife, Olga Deripaska, told TASS that the Cambodian government’s claims that he was living on an expired visa were untrue.

“We extended our visas in November. Both [of us] have valid one-year visas and all allegations that he has violated the [immigration] regime are not true,” she said.

Russia has lobbied Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry in recent weeks to expedite the former billionaire’s extradition ahead of a possible state visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen to Russia in the coming months.

However, a lawyer for Polonsky said she did not “think it is a political decision”.

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