Cambodia deports fugitive Russian tycoon: official

Cambodia deports fugitive Russian tycoon: official
Cambodia deported a fugitive Russian tycoon accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars in a real estate scam back home after arresting him for over-staying his visa, officials said.

Cambodia on Sunday deported an on-the-run Russian tycoon accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars in a real estate scam, officials said. Sergei Polonsky, who is in his 40s, was detained on an island off the southwestern town of Sihanoukville on Friday for overstaying his visa.

"He was deported on Sunday morning back to his country," Uk Heisela, chief of the investigations unit at the interior ministry's immigration department, told AFP. "He is a naughty man," he said, adding that Russian officials were escorting him back to his country.

Polonsky had lived illegally in Cambodia by over-staying his visa for more than two years and his activities "affect Cambodian national security," Uk Heisela said. Eight other Russians have been arrested and also face deportation, he added.

In August 2013 a Russian court ordered Polonsky's detention after he was charged in absentia for his alleged role in a 5.7 billion rouble ($174 million) swindle which defrauded more than 80 investors. Investigators have accused the businessman of orchestrating the scam linked to the construction of a housing complex in 2007-2008.

Polonsky was detained in Cambodia in November 2013 after a request by Russia, but freed by an appeals court in January 2014. Cambodia's Supreme Court in April 2014 rejected the request by Russia to extradite Polonsky, ruling that the tycoon could not be sent back home because the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Polonsky, who denies the accusations, said at a news conference in Phnom Penh in 2014 that it was a "big case" involving "a lot of bad men".

Polonsky still faces a separate trial in Cambodia over allegations that he and two other Russians threatened a boat crew in the kingdom at knifepoint. He was granted provisional release in April 2013 in that case after spending three months in prison in Cambodia, where he has business interests.

The outspoken tycoon's business was hit hard by the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, forcing him to abandon work on Moscow's Federation Tower, which he had hoped would become Europe's tallest building.

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