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New woes for Polonsky

Russian millionaire Sergei Polonsky is escorted by police following his arrest in Preah Sihanouk province.
Russian millionaire Sergei Polonsky is escorted by police following his arrest in Preah Sihanouk province in December. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New woes for Polonsky

Russian authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of property tycoon Sergei Polonsky – who is believed to be in Israel after skipping bail in Cambodia – over allegations he defrauded investors in a Moscow construction project of $176 million, Russian media has reported.

Various news agencies in Polonsky’s home country late on Tuesday quoted court and government officials as saying the warrant had been issued after charges were laid in June and discussions between Russia and Interpol had taken place.

“Sergei Polonsky has been placed on the international wanted list,” news agency Interfax quoted Alexei Krivoruchko, a judge in Moscow, as saying.

Other reports said Russia may ask Israel to extradite Polonsky once his tourist visa expires next month. Polonsky has reportedly applied for Israeli citizenship.

The enigmatic businessman, 40, was arrested near the island he owns off Sihanoukville in late December for allegedly forcing his hired boat crew to jump overboard at knifepoint.

The boatmen later withdrew their complaints – for $20,000 – but the charges remained, and Polonsky languished in prison until his release on bail in April.

Despite international reports that Cambodian authorities are “furious” that Polonsky is no longer in the Kingdom, officials the Post spoke to yesterday gave the impression they either did not know he was abroad or they did not consider his likely escape an issue worth inquiring about.

“He has to report to local authorities once a month, and if anything happens out of the ordinary, they have to report this to the investigating judge,” Preah Sihanouk prosecutor Huot Vichet said.

He would not say, however, whether Polonsky had fulfilled the requirements even once.

The investigating judge, Sar Lina, could not be reached for comment, while court president Mong Monichakrya said he was not aware Polonsky had left the country.

Even Keo Vanthan, director of Interpol Police at Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, did not say where Polonsky was suspected to be, but added he had not received a red notice from Interpol related to his charges in Russia.

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