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Polonsky extradition reviewed

The Supreme Court heard an appeal on Wednesday against a lower court’s decision to suspend the extradition of property tycoon Sergei Polonsky to his native Russia, where he is wanted on charges of fraud.

Supreme Court prosecutor Seng Bun Kheang said the Court of Appeal’s decision in January not to extradite Polonsky until he faces court over a separate criminal case here did not comply with Cambodian law.

“The Court of Appeal has abused the law by overturning the case,” Bun Kheang said. “I would like the council judges [of the Supreme Court] to reconsider this case.”

Supreme Court judge Kim Sathavy confirmed yesterday that a hearing had taken place on Wednesday following a request from the court’s general prosecutor Chea Leang.

But Polonsky’s defence lawyer Benson Samay said yesterday that a court prosecutor had “no right to intervene personally”.

“I think that the request is not official,” Samay said. “It is a private request. If it is an official request, it will be made through the government.”

A decision is expected on April 25.

Polonsky, who owns Koh Dek Koul, an island off Cambodia’s coast, faces charges related to an unfinished $176 million development project in Moscow.

The businessman was arrested in December, accused of being violent towards six boatmen during a cruise near his island. He was held in prison for more than three months over the incident, before being released on bail on the condition he remain in the country. In the ensuing months, he travelled to Israel before returning to the Kingdom.

He was arrested again in November after Russia released a warrant for his arrest and his details were posted on Interpol’s website.

The Court of Appeal released him on bail in January after the decision was made to suspend his extradition. No date has been set for his trial in Cambodia.

Since his first arrest in Cambodia, Polonsky – reportedly a billionaire before the global financial crisis – has frequently used social media to protest his innocence and document his time in prison.

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