BANGKOK/MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) – Disgraced tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who is wanted by Russian authorities, has been transferred to a Cambodian maximum-security prison pending expulsion from the country, his lawyer said Wednesday, calling the move absolutely unprecedented for an extradition case.
Polonsky, who was arrested this week on a Cambodian island, is now being held in Prey Sar, the country’s largest prison outside its capital, Phnom Penh.
The transfer may be for security reasons due to the high-profile nature of the case, Polonsky’s lawyer in Cambodia told RIA Novosti.
The lawyer said that the move may possibly serve to buy Polonsky some time to appeal his expulsion from Cambodia.
But Polonsky’s lawyer in Russia, Alexander Karabanov, suggested extradition hearings may only be delayed until Thursday or the coming days.
“For that to happen, Interpol would have to extend the arrest order by another two days, Cambodian legal rules allow for that,” Karabanov said.
Polonsky was being held in an Interior Ministry pre-trial detention facility in Phnom Penh before his transfer to Prey Sar.
Cambodian prosecutors said Wednesday that the documents on the Polonsky case that Russia had sent were “enough to start the extradition procedure,” said Denis Grunis, head of the international relations department of Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.
Cambodian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Polonsky on Friday at Moscow’s request.
“Prosecutors have handed over the extradition case to Cambodia’s legal system,” Grunis said, adding that the decision was expected soon.
Formerly one of Russia’s richest businessmen, Polonsky is wanted in Russia for an alleged 5.7 billion-ruble ($175 million) embezzlement scheme that targeted investors in an upscale residential project in Moscow.
Authorities in Russia say more than 80 participants in the Kutuzovskaya Milya development project lost money directly because of Polonsky’s actions.
The businessman denies the charges.
Updates with extradition details in paras 8-10.