Businessman Nikolai Doroshenko, the longtime adversary of fugitive former billionaire Sergei Polonsky, has been arrested in Sihanoukville on charges of counterfeiting documents, forgery of signatures and breach of trust.
Military police surrounded Doroshenko’s Snake House restaurant yesterday afternoon and whisked him away in a black car, to the apparent delight of Polonsky, who tweeted photos of the arrest, signing off with “have a nice day”.
Deputy police commissioner Kol Phally said that Doroshenko was arrested at about 2:30pm by police serving a warrant.
“They arrested only him alone,” he said, adding that he expected military police to forward him to the court.
A copy of the arrest warrant indicates the charges are related to a complaint Polonsky filed against Doroshenko in July 2014 alleging he forged signatures to take possession of the disputed Koh Dek Koul island.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Governor Chhit Sokhon stressed: “We didn’t have any relation to or pressure from Polonsky for this arrest”.
“We arrested him for many cases related to violent provocation and business competition,” he said, adding that any further details of the case were being kept secret at this stage.
The arrest warrant viewed by the Post states that Doroshenko was summonsed to appear in court twice in February but failed to appear.
As a result, police were ordered to immediately arrest him on charges that could total between three and eight years of jail time if he is convicted.
Doroshenko’s lawyer, Nach Try, said he didn’t know how many cases his client had been charged in connection with but that he had heard one involved “violence”.
Kaspars Cekotins, one of Polonsky’s lawyers, said the cases were related to alleged attempts to use forged documents to take control of Sea Snake Investment Group Co Ltd,, the company that owns Koh Dek Koul island.
“The court wanted to hear from Nikolai how exactly he became the owner, but he just ignored the interventions from the court, so they took the next step,” he said.
The Koh Dek Koul complaint is just one of more than half a dozen that Polonsky has filed against Doroshenko relating to islands that the two men had planned to develop jointly before their relationship soured in early 2013.
A number of allegedly violent incidents have occurred between the duelling Russian businessmen in recent months, including what Doroshenko’s son Ostap claims was a murder attempt on March 13 when the Doroshenkos’ Range Rover burst into flames.
Polonsky has strongly denied the Doroshenkos’ claim that he wants them dead, even offering to protvide the family security after the latest incident.
Although Nikolai Doroshenko’s arrest appears to be a victory for Polonsky’s side, the tycoon remains wanted by Interpol on charges of embezzling investors in a Russian real estate deal.
Earlier this month, Russia and Cambodia announced they were exploring the possibility of signing an extradition treaty which would pave the way for Polonsky’s extradition.
The Interior Ministry recently sent a special team to Sihanoukville to investigate violent crime involving foreigners, ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said on Tuesday.
He said there would be “a change” in the coastal town thanks to new police efforts.