Police arrested Mr. Polonsky , once one of Russia’s wealthiest men, on Dam Luong Island late Friday afternoon. Uk Heisela, a director at the country’s immigration department, said Mr. Polonsky left the country about 7.20 am Sunday on an itinerary that was scheduled to take him to Moscow via Vietnam.
Russian prosecutors asked Cambodia to repatriate the 42-year-old former billionaire in 2013 to stand trial on embezzlement charges, but Mr. Polonsky—who denies the charges—had contested extradition proceedings. Russian prosecutors accuse Mr. Polonsky of embezzling 5.7 billion rubles (US$115 million) from down payments made by prospective buyers of a luxury residential complex in Moscow that was never built. Moscow filed the charges in absentia in 2013 and declared him a fugitive.
Last year, Cambodia’s Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Polonsky couldn’t be repatriated to Russia because there was no extradition agreement between the two countries.
Recently, however, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Ministry of Justice to review Moscow’s request to extradite Mr. Polonsky, and officials from the two countries have discussed implementing an extradition treaty.
A spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mr. Polonsky’s arrest wasn’t related to the extradition deliberations, but was the result of the businessman allegedly breaking immigration rules by staying in Cambodia after his visa expired. That view was supported by the immigration director, Mr. Uk Heisela. “We’re following our immigration law,” he said
The businessman’s lawyer, Benson Samay, denied that Mr. Polonsky had overstayed his visa. He declined to comment further. Mr. Polonsky couldn’t be reached for comment.
Mr. Polonsky is chairman and founder of real-estate group Potok, a successor company to the defunct Mirax. It operates in Russia, Ukraine, France, Cambodia, Switzerland, the U.S. and the U.K., according to its website. Its Cambodian assets include a resort on Dek Koule island, located off the coast of Sihanoukville.