The Russian Interior Ministry initiated the extradition of businessman Sergei Polonsky after his former partner had said he was being threatened.
"Investigative bodies have submitted documents to initiate extradition procedures for Sergei Polonsky to the Russian Federation," a source from the ministry press center told Interfax.
A former business partner of Polonsky, Nikolai Doroshenko, made a statement to the Interior Ministry's investigative department. Facts presented in the statement were verified, he said.
"N. Doroshenko and S. Polonsky jointly invested in development projects on Cambodian islands for several years, from 2005 until 2012. N. Doroshenko made a statement to the police to report threats against him as well as the illegal actions of the scandalous businessman on the territory of Cambodia," he said.
Doroshenko claimed, in his statement, a copy of which was obtained by Interfax, that Polonsky began "plotting" against him and his family upon his return from Israel.
"S. Polonsky is exerting moral and psychological pressure via seemingly peaceful telephone calls to my acquaintances who have addressed the Russian Consulate in Cambodia in this connection," Doroshenko wrote in his statement to Russian Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin and Interior Ministry detective Oleg Silchenko.
He said he had been partners with Polonsky in 2005-2012 but they went separate ways because of the Polonsky's behavior. "I heard rumors in January 2013 that Polonsky was accusing me of business failures," wrote Doroshenko, a resident of Cambodia.
In his words, Polonsky, whose arrest had been ordered in absentia by a Russian court, "is buying weapons, speedboats and watercraft in Cambodia". He also said that Polonsky "had acquired Cambodian citizenship for $70,000" with the purpose of hiding from Russian justice.
The document has been received by the Russian Interior Ministry's investigative department. A ministry detective asked the court to add the statement to the case file on Monday but the court denied the request noting that it was not related to the fraud charges against Polonsky.
Meanwhile, Diana Tatosova, the wanted businessman's lawyer, told the court the statement was unfounded. "This is just a letter and information it presents is not supported by evidence obtained during investigative procedures or anything else," Tatosova said.
The Moscow City Court upheld the arrest of Polonsky in absentia on Monday.
Polonsky was in jail in Cambodia from December 31, 2012 to April 3, 2013, having been accused of violence against and the illegal confinement of Cambodian sailors. He faced three years in prison, but his defense was able to strike a deal with his victims, who withdrew their suit when Polonsky compensated them financially. The businessman gave his written pledge not to leave Cambodia, but the criminal case against him was not closed. However, he left Cambodia, and, after visiting Switzerland and Luxembourg, resurfaced in Israel, where he sought Israeli citizenship.
On June 14, Russian authorities charged him in absentia as part of an investigation into alleged fraudulent off-plan sales of apartments in a development in Moscow. Polonsky is accused of stealing more than 5.7 billion rubles from over 80 people who were buying homes in the future Kutuzovskaya Mile development.
The Moscow Tverskoi Court later ruled to arrest Polonsky in absentia. In the course of the legal proceedings, it became known that Polonsky had been put on the international most wanted list.
On August 17, a source close to Polonsky told Interfax the businessman had returned to Cambodia and intends to stay there over the next several months.
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