Russian fugitive Sergei Polonsky arrested in Cambodia jungle


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The Independent Online

Police in Cambodia have arrested the Russian property tycoon Sergei Polonsky and plan to extradite him to his native country to face embezzlement charges.

He was seized by dozens of officers in a beach-front raid on an island he owns in the tourist haven of Sihanoukville yesterday morning. He tried to hide in the jungle, the Russian state news agency Itar-Tass quoted a Cambodian interior ministry spokesman as saying.

The spokesman said he was detained at the request of Russian authorities. Polonsky was charged in Russia in absentia in June with fraud. It is alleged that a company he controlled had sold Moscow apartments, which had not yet been built, that did not correspond with the documentation. Last month, Russia added him to Interpol’s wanted list.

Polonsky was arrested in Cambodia in December 2012 on allegations that he held the crew of a tourist ship at knifepoint while drunk.

In 2011 Alexander Lebedev, financial backer of The Independent, threw a punch at him during a television talk show. The incident led to a controversial trial in which Mr Lebedev was charged with hooliganism motivated by political hatred. The charges, which carried a jail sentence, were eventually dropped and Mr Lebedev received 150 hours’ community service on a lesser charge in July.