Court Temporarily Halts Lease Transfer for Victory Beach

Russian businessmen Nikolai Doroshenko and Sergei Polonsky are locked in a legal dispute over Sihanoukville’s Victory Beach following Mr. Polonsky’s release from prison last month, according to copies of court documents obtained Monday.

The Preah Sihanouk provincial court has temporarily prevented Mr. Doroshenko from transferring the right of a 99-year lease his company holds for the 3,536 square meter beach area to a Taiwanese company because he allegedly violated the terms of a previous contract for the land with Mr. Polonsky, a former Russian real estate mogul.

In a copy of the court’s ruling, it “provisionally forbid[s] Doroshenko Nikolai from selling, exchanging, leasing, mortgaging, transferring of right, hypothecating, gifting, making a will, bequeathing or donating the Victory Beach…including the building, port and a motorboat until the court completely rules on the merit of the case.”

The court’s ruling, dated April 30 and signed by Kim Eng, deputy director of the provincial court, followed an April 18 motion filed on behalf of Mr. Polonsky.

Victory Beach, located near the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Bei commune, was awarded as a 99-year lease to Sea Snake Investment Group Co. Ltd., which is owned by Mr. Doroshenko.

The court ruling says that on April 8, 2013, Mr. Doroshenko entered a contract to transfer the lease for Victory Beach to a 38-year-old Ukrainian national—whose name was redacted from the document—who later entrusted his right to Mr. Polonsky.

The Ukrainian national then made a deposit and agreed to pay the remainder of the investment after receiving the legal letter of transfer, states the court ruling. Representatives of both Mr. Doroshenko and Mr. Polonsky said the deposit was $200,000, although the figure was also redacted from court documents.

In the following months, the letter of transfer was never received by the Ukranian man. Instead, Mr. Doroshenko resold the lease to a Taiwanese national, violating the contract, the court document states.

However, Mr. Doroshenko’s lawyer claimed Monday that Mr. Polonsky lied to the court to get them to rule on his behalf and said that Mr. Doroshenko has already filed a counter-complaint.

“Polonsky lied [and said] that he paid $200,000 to Doroshenko to purchase around 3,000 square meters of Victory Beach. But in reality, from before until now, Polonsky never paid any money to Doroshenko to buy or transfer the right on lease of Victory Beach,” Sun Sam Ol, Mr. Doroshenko’s lawyer, wrote in an email.

Mr. Sam Ol also said that Mr. Doroshenko sold the majority of shares in Sea Snake Investment Group Co. Ltd. to a Chinese firm late last year.

“At the end of 2013, the shares of the company already transferred to Chinese people. That means Victory Beach is not under the control of Doroshenko anymore,” he said.

In the past year, Mr. Polonsky has faced numerous legal disputes in both Russia and Cambodia.

He is wanted in Russia over charges of embezzling more than $180 million from investors in residential real estate projects in Moscow. Last month, a Cambodian court for the second time denied an extradition request from Russia.

In Cambodia, he faces charges for his alleged role in assaulting six Cambodian boatmen off the coast of Sihanoukville in December 2012. Preah Sihanouk court officials have previously said that Mr. Polonsky’s trial has been indefinitely delayed, and on Monday declined to comment.

(Additional reporting by Khuon Narim)

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News