Cambodian sailors 'forced to jump into sea' settle case with Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky

Crew withdraw their accusations after agreeing £12,500 compensation deal

Sihanoukville

Six Cambodian seamen who were allegedly forced to leap into the ocean at knifepoint by a Russian tycoon have withdrawn their accusations after agreeing a compensation deal worth a total of $20,000 (£12,500).

Ouch Sopheaktra, a lawyer for the crew members, said the men had withdrawn their charges against Sergei Polonsky earlier this week after agreeing a payout. “The victims withdrew their lawsuits on 10 January and they have been compensated $20,000,” he said. “I have no idea if the court will release the Russian men very soon because the court has their own legal way to decide what to do next.”

Mr Polonsky was arrested by the Cambodian authorities along with two friends, Konstantin Baglay and Alexander Karachinsky, and charged with “intentional violence” and illegal detention after the sailors were forced into the ocean off the coast at Sihanoukville on the night of 30 December. If convicted, they could face up to three years in jail.

Reports said the incident happened after a fireworks party being held on Koh Rong island and attended by Mr Polonsky and his friends, attracted the attention of a nearby military base. When a boat was dispatched to check, Mr Polonsky apparently offered to accompany the boat to the mainland to collect his documents. At some point, the sailors were allegedly forced into the sea where they were rescued by local fishermen.

A statement released on Mr Polonsky’s behalf when the incident happened said: “Unfortunately, the language barrier between both parties led to some tension as Mr Polonsky and his friends were taken to the military base by force.”

On social media, Mr Polonsky insisted he would not plead guilty to the allegations levelled at him. He said: “I could have gone free after 15 minutes if I had pleaded guilty.”

The 40-year-old tycoon made his money in the construction industry, though he suffered major financial losses in the 2008 crisis and had to abandon his plans to build what would have been Europe’s tallest building in Moscow. He moved to Cambodia last year and established himself in the south-western coastal resort of Sihanoukville.

There are suggestions in Moscow that he may have fled to Cambodia in order to avoid a potential court case against creditors who say he owes them millions of dollars. Russian media have reported that Mr Polonsky has written to the king of Cambodia asking for citizenship of the country after his release and promising major investment in the economy.

His company is said to be part-owner of Koh Dek Kuol, a private island that his company has developed as the Mirax luxury resort.

Last year, Mr Polonsky was involved in an incident when he was punched on live television by Alexander Lebedev, the father of Evgeny Lebedev, proprieter of The Independent. Mr Lebedev has been charged with hooliganism and battery and his trial is scheduled to begin shortly.

Although the sailors have dropped their claims against Mr Polonsky it is not clear what has happened to the formal charges that were levelled against him and he and his friends remain in jail. Prosecutor Huot Vicheth said today that the case was now being dealt with by an investigating judge.

The Russian embassy in Phnom Penh failed to respond to queries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee