Cambodia arrests fugitive Russian property tycoon

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2013 7:11 AM
Cambodia arrests fugitive Russian property tycoon

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Russian property developer wanted in his homeland for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars was arrested Monday in Cambodia, where he had been living.

Cambodian police arrested Sergei Polonsky, 40, in the southern coastal town of Sihanoukville, said Chhay Sinarith, chief of the Information Department at Cambodia's Interior Ministry.

"We arrested him according to a request by the Russian government," Chhay Sinarith said. "Cambodia will extradite him to Russia, but we don't know when."

The real estate tycoon was charged in Russia earlier this year with embezzling more than 5.7 billion rubles ($175 million) from some 80 property investors.

The International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, recently added Polonsky to its "red list" of internationally wanted criminals for "large scale fraud."

Polonsky soon will be transported from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, where he will be placed in the custody of the immigration police until he is deported, Chhay Sinarith said.

The Russian had been living on his own private island just off Cambodia's southern coast.

Polonsky wrote on his Facebook page last week that "my Interpol international arrest warrant has flagrantly violated my rights as a human being and a citizen," saying that under fair trial rights, he was innocent until proven guilty.

On Saturday, he wrote that "the newly appointed Ambassador of Russia, instead of meeting me, is threatening the Cambodian government for an urgent release of the document concerning my arrest. This I consider to be interference in the internal affairs of an INDEPENDENT COUNTRY."

Polonsky spent three months in jail in Cambodia this year for allegedly attacking the crew of a boat after a dispute erupted during a New Year's Eve outing. He went to Israel after that, but returned to Cambodia in August.