A Cambodian lawyer for jailed Russian real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky said yesterday that he had filed four complaints to Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court accusing Russian businessmen based in the Kingdom of extorting his client out of “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
While also calling for Polonsky’s alleged violence-at-sea case to be held in Cambodia before he is extradited to Russia to face embezzlement charges, lawyer Ros Sitha said he was preparing a total of 17 complaints against “corrupt” Cambodian officials and the businessmen.
“He still has the case at Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court, so we want the court to hold a trial here before sending him to Russia,” he said.
A warrant for the tycoon’s arrest in Russia – over an undelivered $176 million development – was issued in August. Cambodian authorities arrested him on Koh Rong off the coast of Sihanoukville on November 10 after a request from Russia to extradite him.
Polonsky, reported to be a billionaire before the global financial crisis, was the owner of property firm Mirax, which ceased operations in 2011. He spent more than three months in prison in Sihanoukville earlier this year, accused of violence against six boatmen, before being released on bail.
Sitha said yesterday that he had met with senior officials at the Ministry of Justice but had not been told when they planned to extradite Polonsky.
“Polonsky could face more than 10 years in jail in Russia if he is extradited – and his business interests here will be complicated and not well managed,” Sitha said.
When contacted yesterday, Bou Bun Haing, chief prosecutor at Preah Sihanouk provincial court, said he had not seen complaints from Polonsky’s lawyer.
Russian media reported yesterday that Alexander Karabanov, Polonsky’s lawyer, had stated that his client had been offered asylum, including by the US.
But Tel Samuth, a personal assistant and translator for Polonsky, said that the businessman was not aware of such offers.