MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – Fugitive businessman Sergei Polonsky, who is wanted in Russia on embezzlement charges, has been arrested by authorities in Cambodia after hiding in the jungle and is to be extradited back to Russia, his lawyers said Monday.
Rossiya 24 TV channel reported Monday that the tycoon had been taken to a police department in handcuffs, wearing only a beach towel. It took police several hours to find and arrest him, the report said.
In an article on its website, the TV channel cited Polonsky as saying Monday that police had showed no warrant for his arrest and had fired shots during the detention. He said his arrest was “a complete outrage.”
“I haven’t killed anyone or stolen anything. I am an honest man,” Rossiya 24 cited the businessman as saying.
Polonsky is due to be handed over to immigration police in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, where he will stay until he is transferred to Russia, his Cambodian lawyers said.
A Cambodian police source confirmed to RIA Novosti on Monday that the fugitive Russian has been arrested for transfer to Russia under an Interpol warrant.
Earlier Monday, Polonsky’s lawyer Alexander Karabanov said his client was “hiding in the jungle” after receiving a warning from his own police sources that an operation to arrest him involving dozens of policemen had been launched.
The overnight search operation for Polonsky was launched after the Russian tycoon posted a video on Facebook purportedly showing a senior Cambodian police officer demanding $1 million for helping him to avoid extradition to Russia, Karabanov said.
Last week, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said it had sent an official extradition request to Cambodia, where Polonsky had been living on his own island. Cambodia granted him citizenship in September after judges there cleared him of liability in an alleged attack on several locals.
Once one of Russia’s richest men, Polonsky has been charged in absentia in Russia with involvement in an alleged 5.7 billion ruble ($175 million) embezzlement scheme that targeted investors in an upscale residential project in Moscow.
His lawyer said last week that Polonsky had sent a statement to Russian prosecutors and investigators naming the individuals he believes committed the embezzlement.
Russia’s Interior Ministry has said that more than 80 participants in the Kutuzovskaya Milya development project lost money directly because of Polonsky’s actions.
Updated with details, Polonsky's quotes, new headline.