Russia lodges extradition request for Polonsky with Cambodia

Russia has lodged an extradition request for businessman Sergei Polonsky with Cambodia, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

Russia has lodged an extradition request for businessman Sergei Polonsky with Cambodia, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

"Due to the numerous media inquiries, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office reports that a request for the extradition of Russian citizen Sergei Polonsky was filed with the authorized agencies of Cambodia in October 2013 upon studies of related materials with the purpose of his prosecution in Russia," an Office spokesman told Interfax on Thursday.

It was reported on Wednesday that Cambodian authorities intended to arrest Polonsky and extradite him to Russia.

Polonsky is currently staying on the Island of Koh Dek Kuol near the Cambodian town of Sihanoukville, the Cambodia Daily reported. The island has been purchased by the businessman.

Polonsky said earlier he was ready to come to Russia but conditioned his return on the change of his restrictive measure from arrest to travel restrictions. His lawyers said that Polonsky was prepared to cooperate with the police or might even suggest a plea bargain.

Lawyer Alexander Karabanov told Interfax on October 15 that his client had asked for a different restrictive measure so that he could return to Russia.

"I came to Moscow yesterday and submitted an application to the [Russian Interior Ministry] investigative department that was signed by Polonsky who requested that the detective to make a pre-trial agreement and change his restrictive measure to anything but imprisonment so that he could return to Russia; he is a patriot of his country and has elementary rights to defense," Karabanov said.

He said the defense team would ask Interpol for explanations of numerous contradictory reports.

"Even if the Interpol Cambodian bureau is ordered to deport Polonsky that will be technically hard to do. First of all, there is no bilateral [extradition] agreement between Russia and Cambodia. And, most importantly, the Cambodian administration has a keen interest in Polonsky as an investor who may contribute to its national economy and attract other investors with his name," the lawyer said.

He noted that the detectives, who began the Interpol search for Polonsky in absentia, practically denied him the right to defense.

The Moscow City Court upheld the arrest of Polonsky in absentia on September 30.

Polonsky was imprisoned in Cambodia from December 31, 2012 until April 2, 2013, on the counts of violence against local sailors and illegal deprivation of their freedom. He could have been sentenced to three years in prison but his defense team reached an agreement with the victims and the Cambodian sailors withdrew their statements in exchange for financial compensation from Polonsky. The businessman was set free with travel restrictions, but his case was not closed.

Reportedly, Polonsky left Cambodia after his release from prison, visited Switzerland and Luxembourg and came to Israel to seek Israeli naturalization.

Russia charged Polonsky in absentia on June 14 with fraud in the construction of an apartment block. Detectives said he "stole over 5.7 billion rubles from investors in the Kutuzovskaya Milya apartment block project." More than 80 citizens were acknowledged as victims.

The Moscow Tverskoy Court ordered his arrest in absentia and it was announced during the court session that Polonsky had been placed on the international most wanted list.

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