MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) – Fugitive Russian property tycoon Sergei Polonsky has been freed after Cambodia denied a Russian request for his extradition, the RAPSI legal news service cited his lawyer as saying Monday.
Polonsky was released by a Cambodian court from jail where he had been held since November ahead of an expected transfer to Russia, his lawyer Alexander Karabanov said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Polonsky, 41, was temporarily released by a Cambodian court to complete the necessary court procedures in the town of Sihanoukville as a criminal case against him on violence charges has not been closed.
“He will remain in Cambodia under travel restrictions,” the ministry said.
In Russia, the eccentric former owner of Mirax Group was arrested in absentia by a Moscow court on embezzlement charges last year, and placed on an international wanted list.
Russian police said in a statement Monday that they had frozen assets in foreign companies owned by Polonsky valued at about $100 million.
A source at the Cambodian Prosecutor General’s Office told RIA Novosti on Monday that Russia’s extradition request had been rejected because Polonsky still faced kidnapping charges relating to an incident a year ago on board a boat carrying a group of Russians celebrating New Year.
Russia’s Interior Ministry said that it had received no official notification from the Cambodian authorities about the rejection of the extradition request.
It was reported over the weekend that Cambodian prosecutors had closed the kidnapping case against Polonsky, once among Russia’s richest men.
Polonsky spent three months in jail in Cambodia last year on the kidnapping charges. After receiving bail he fled to Israel, where he sought citizenship in an apparent bid to shield himself from extradition to Russia.
He subsequently returned to Cambodia, however, where he was arrested in November for a second time and jailed in a high security prison in the capital, Phnom Penh.
Russian investigators allege that Polonsky was involved in a $175 million fraud scheme in an upscale Moscow residential project, in which more than 80 people lost money.
Updated with Russian Foreign Ministry statement