Appeal Court Grants Bail to Nikolai Doroshenko

Russian businessman Nikolai Doroshenko was granted bail by the Appeal Court on Monday, more than a month after he was imprisoned in Sihanoukville over his failure to heed a pair of court summonses relating to a dispute with his former investment partner, Sergei Polonsky.

“We decided to release him on bail,” Presiding Judge Khun Leangmeng said following a closed-door hearing at the court in Phnom Penh.

“He is a businessman, he has a real address, he handed his passport over [to the court] and he handed over his real estate,” he added.

As of 7 p.m. Monday, Mr. Doroshenko remained behind bars, according to Sam Sophal, chief of the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison.

“We are waiting to see the Appeal Court’s release warrant, then we will release him,” Mr. Sophal said.

Mr. Doroshenko, 54, a longtime Sihanoukville resident who also holds Cambodian citizenship, was arrested at his family’s Snake House restaurant on March 25 after twice failing to appear before the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court over one of his many disputes with Mr. Polonsky, 42, who is wanted in his native Russia on multimillion-dollar embezzlement charges.

Following his arrest, Mr. Doroshenko was sent to the provincial prison to await trial on charges of signature forgery, use of fake documents and breach of trust, crimes that allegedly allowed him to steal $10 million that Mr. Polonsky had poured into their joint Sea Snake Investment Group. His first request to be freed on bail was turned down by the provincial court earlier this month.

After the Appeal Court made its decision Monday, Nach Try, a lawyer for Mr. Doroshenko, confirmed that his client’s passports and landholdings had been turned over, and that an unspecified amount of money had been lodged at the court as surety.

“He can’t escape the country because they kept his passports, real estate and shares,” Mr. Try said, declining to comment further.

Mr. Doroshenko’s son Ostap, 36, last week alleged in a statement that Mr. Polonsky had paid $250,000 to authorities to secure his father’s arrest.

On Friday, Mr. Polonsky filed a complaint with the provincial court accusing the younger Doroshenko of defamation over the bribery accusation.

Kaspars Cekotins, a lawyer for Mr. Polonsky, said he was shocked that Mr. Dorshenko had been granted bail.

“I am very surprised at the verdict because there are so many cases against him with good solid evidence,” he said. “Maybe he is ready to face the court and answer questions, or maybe he has other plans.”

(Additional reporting by Matt Blomberg)

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