Sergei Polonsky, the fugitive Russian oligarch who has poured millions of dollars into tourism developments off the coast of Sihanoukville, was deported Sunday morning to Russia, where he faces massive embezzlement charges, an Interior Ministry official said.
Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the ministry’s general department of immigration, said that Mr. Polonsky was placed aboard a flight to Vietnam shortly before 7 a.m.
“This morning, we deported him at about 6:40 a.m., and it is only Polonsky,” said Major General Heisela.
“Polonsky was sent on an Angkor Air flight through to Ho Chi Minh and then straight to Moscow,” he added.
Military police arrested Mr. Polonsky along with at least five of his associates on Koh Damlong – one of eight islands he owns off the coast of Sihanoukville – on Friday. Police said that Mr. Polonsky had an expired visa, a claim his lawyer rejected.
Mr. Heisela said Sunday that Mr. Polonsky did not have the necessary documents to be living in the country, adding that police were working to determine whether the other arrested men were in Cambodia legally.
“The other foreigners living with Polonsky on the island, if the provincial police search and they have no passport, then we will…deport [them],” he said.
In July 2013, the Russian Interior Ministry charged Mr. Polonsky with embezzling millions of dollars from investors in two Moscow residential developments. He was subsequently placed on Interpol’s most-wanted list.
Both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in Cambodia have turned down requests from Moscow to send him home to stand trial. However, it emerged in March that Cambodia and Russia had begun drafting an official extradition treaty, which Russian news outlets reported was aimed at securing the return of Mr. Polonsky.
On Friday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, which is currently reviewing the treaty, said that Mr. Polonsky’s arrest was unrelated to Russia’s repeated extradition requests.
However, Mr. Polonsky’s Cambodian lawyer, Benson Samay, said Friday that he believed pressure from Russia was the reason for his client’s arrest.
“I suspect his arrest was involved with the extradition case,” Mr. Samay said.