CAMBODIA COURT FREES RUSSIAN TYCOON WANTED OVER ALLEGED SCAM

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PHNOM PENH: A Cambodian court on Monday freed a Russian tycoon, wanted in Moscow for embezzlement of tens of millions of dollars in a real estate scam, and suspended extradition proceedings against him. Sergei Polonsky was detained in southwestern city of Sihanoukville in Cambodia in November after a request by the Russian government, which also sought his extradition. A Russian court ordered Polonsky’s detention in August 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. But Cambodia’s Appeals Court on Monday said authorities could not currently extradite Polonsky because he faces a separate trial in Cambodia over allegations he attacked the crew of a boat, according to his Cambodian lawyer. The court ordered Polonsky’s immediate release, lawyer Benson Samay said, adding the allegations against his client in Russia were based on a “turf war” over his business interests. Polonsky, who is believed to have business interests in Cambodia, was previously detained on New Year’s Eve in 2012 in Sihanoukville over accusations he and two other Russians threatened a Cambodian boat crew at knifepoint.

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