Moscow (dpa) – Fugitive Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who amassed a fortune in the real estate business before he fled his native country amid claims that he stole from investors, has been arrested on a yacht in Cambodia, his lawyer said Friday.
Polonsky, a 42-year-old former billionaire, who in recent years has lived on a private island in the South-east Asian country, was arrested together with members of his legal team, his lawyer, Slavik Brsoyan, told Russian news agency Interfax.
Several news outlets reported that Polonsky was being deported because of an expired visa, citing migration officials. However, in September 2013, Russian media reported that he received Cambodian citizenship and was issued a Cambodian passport, citing his lawyer at the time, Diana Tatosova.
Russian authorities in June 2013 charged Polonsky in absentia with embezzling about 6 billion roubles (currently 120 million dollars).
State media reported that the money was stolen through a scheme of siphoning funds out of a residential property project and into a subsidiary company that was then bankrupted.
Russia’s Interior Ministry said Friday in a statement on its website that it was continuing efforts on an international scale “to bring Polonsky to justice.”
Last year, Cambodia’s supreme court refused Russia’s request to extradite Polonsky because the two countries did not have a formal extradition agreement.
However, Cambodian authorities in December obligated Polonsky to vacate the private island because of an ownership dispute with a former business partner.
The authorities threatened to take legal action against Polonsky if he did not comply with the order.
Polonsky’s former lawyer, Alexander Dobrovinsky, broke the news on Friday that he had been arrested. Dobrovinsky said in a Facebook post that Polonsky was arrested at the island.
Polonsky earlier experienced legal troubles in Cambodia. He was arrested in late 2012 after he and two friends reportedly got into a fight with several Cambodian sailors.
Polonsky was released from custody several months later after reportedly reaching a cash settlement with the sailors.
Earlier this year Polonsky threatened to sue Hollywood film company 20th Century Fox for a billion dollars because a movie villain was too similar to him.
The antagonist in the company’s recently released Russian-language movie Neulovimiye (Elusive) is a callous businessman named Sergei Polyansky.