Polonsky Files Suit Against Former Lawyers

Wanted Russian oligarch Sergei Polonsky earlier this month filed a lawsuit in a London court against celebrity lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky and his partner, Natalia Levinzon, alleging the pair conspired with “rival business interests” to defraud him of millions and seize his real estate company, according to a statement released Thursday by Mr. Polonsky.

The suit, filed May 7 at the High Court in London, claims that while Mr. Polonsky was detained in Cambodia on assault charges, Mr. Dobrovinsky informed him that Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, was interested in buying Mr. Polonsky’s Russia-based investment firm, Potok.

Because of his detainment, Mr. Polonsky assigned responsibility to Mr. Dobrovinsky to find a new buyer for Potok, and appointed him chairman of the company, the statement says.

The deal with Abramovich, however, was a complete fabrication, Mr. Polonsky claims.

“As part of the deception, it is alleged, Mr. Polonsky was visited whilst in custody in Cambodia by Levinzon and a person pretending to be Mr. Abramovich’s legal representative, and signed documents advancing a deal with an offshore company, which he was told was Mr. Abramovich’s purchasing vehicle,” reads the statement.

“In March 2013, without informing or consulting Mr. Polonsky, Dobrovinsky signed a Sale and Purchase agreement for the sale of Potok to this offshore company,” the statement continues.

But the buying company was actually a rival business, Mr. Polonsky claims, and Mr. Dobrovinsky unlawfully withheld at least $13.5 million in proceeds of the sale from Mr. Polonsky. The “rival business interests” are not named in the statement, and representatives of Mr. Polonsky declined to identify them.

Mr. Polonsky was arrested in December 2012 for allegedly threatening six Cambodians with a knife and forcing them to jump off a boat near the coast of Sihanoukville, and was detained until April 2013.

Since then, his legal woes have escalated and he has twice been charged in absentia by a Russian court for allegedly embezzling more than $180 million from investors in two separate Moscow-area development projects.

Cambodia’s Appeal Court and Supreme Court rejected Russia’s attempts to extradite Mr. Polonsky.

“I look forward to securing the future of Potok, one of Russia’s great business organizations,” Mr. Polonsky is quoted as saying in the statement. “Dobrovinsky and Levinzon have misused English law to betray their client, knowing that the English legal system is held in high regard within Russia.”

Mr. Dobrovinsky’s firm did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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