Cambodia's top court rules against Russian tycoon's extradition

PHNOM PENH Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:21am EDT

Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky (C) and his lawyer (wearing tie) speak to the media at the Appeal Court in central Phnom Penh January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky (C) and his lawyer (wearing tie) speak to the media at the Appeal Court in central Phnom Penh January 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Samrang Pring

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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia will not extradite Russian real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky to Russia to face embezzlement charges, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The court said Polonsky, who was once worth $1.2 billion, will not be sent back because Cambodia had no extradition treaty with Russia.

Polonsky is accused of fraud in a case in which authorities say 5.7 billion rubles ($175 million) was stolen from investors in a Moscow real estate development project.

Cambodian authorities detained him in November last year and police said they were planning to extradite him at Moscow's request.

"The court understands that Cambodia and Russia have not signed an extradition treaty so neither state has an obligation in this case," Judge Kim Sathavy told the court.

Polonsky did not attend the hearing but his Cambodian lawyer, Benson Samay, said the decision was fair and his client would fight other charges he faced.

Polonsky was also arrested in Cambodia last year and released on bail with two other Russians after being charged with assault and illegal detention after an alleged altercation with the crew of a tourist boat.

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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