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High court releases Doroshenko on bail

Nikolai Doroshenko demonstrates how to milk a snake this year in Preah Sihanouk.
Nikolai Doroshenko demonstrates how to milk a snake this year in Preah Sihanouk. Doroshenko was released on bail from prison over the weekend after spending more than two months behind bars. MAX ELVINGER

High court releases Doroshenko on bail

Controversial Russian businessman Nikolai Doroshenko has been released from Preah Sihanouk Provincial prison on bail, though criminal charges brought against him by his recently deported rival, Sergei Polonsky, remain outstanding.

Doroshenko was discharged at 10am on Saturday, according to the prison’s deputy director, Tan Nareth.

He had spent more than two months behind bars, after failing to appear in court in late March to answer charges related to ongoing property disputes between him and one-time business partner Polonsky, who last month was deported to Russia, where he faces embezzlement charges.

Doroshenko was originally granted bail by the Appeal Court on April 27, however that ruling was challenged, and overruled, by the court’s prosecutor general. The latest decision, made by the Supreme Court on Friday, upheld the original bail decision.

According to one of his lawyers, Nach Try, Doroshenko has surrendered his passport and documents related to property he owns as part of the bail.

“Money was not deposited for the release,” Try said.

Doroshenko’s release came just days after the publication of a video in which members of his family claimed the family patriarch’s absence had led to the temporary closure of an NGO in Sihanoukville dedicated to treating snakebites. Doroshenko is a trained herpetologist and the NGO reportedly treats up to 60 people per month.

His son, Ostap Doroshenko, a serving member of the Cambodian police who was last month transferred from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, was unavailable for comment on his father’s release yesterday.

Doroshenko’s release comes just three weeks after Polonsky was arrested and quickly deported to Russia for an allegedly expired visa.

When Doroshenko was originally arrested on charges of counterfeiting documents, forgery of signatures and breach of trust, Polonsky reacted with glee, tweeting photos of the arrest along with the caption “have a nice day”.

But the fortunes of both men have now dramatically turned, with Polonksy last week sent to a psychiatric unit in Russia to determine whether he requires “compulsory” psychological care. He is facing charges of embezzling more than $170 million from a failed real estate project in Moscow.

Polonsky’s lawyer Benson Samay yesterday said he had no comment on Doroshenko’s release.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHARLES PARKINSON

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