Russian Businessman Blames Fugitive Oligarch for Attack on Son

Russian businessman Nikolai Doroshenko has accused his longtime rival, fugitive oligarch Sergei Polonsky, of ordering a hit on him following a brutal attack on his son in Sihanoukville on Thursday—which he says was meant for him.

Mr. Polonsky—an eccentric former billionaire wanted on multimillion-dollar embezzlement charges in Moscow, who splits his time between Phnom Penh and a tiny private island off the coast of Sihanoukville—denied the accusation.

Ostap Doroshenko sits in a local clinic after being attacked in Sihanoukville on Thursday. (Nikolai Doroshenko)
Ostap Doroshenko sits in a local clinic after being attacked in Sihanoukville on Thursday. (Nikolai Doroshenko)

According to police, Mr. Doroshenko’s son, Ostap, 36, a Cambodian citizen and captain in the Preah Sihanouk provincial immigration police force, was sent by his father to meet two Russian men who wanted the well-connected family’s help in delivering $1,000 to Denis Valov. Mr. Valov, also Russian, was sent to the provincial prison last month for allegedly killing a local high-school student with his car while driving drunk.

Provincial minor crimes police chief Men Vanny said Sunday that the elder Mr. Doroshenko, 56—also a Cambodian citizen— received a telephone call at about 11 a.m. Thursday from a Russian-speaking man soliciting his help in delivering the cash, and arranged to meet the man that evening.

At about 5 p.m., Mr. Doroshenko, busy with other work, sent his son to pick up the money instead, Mr. Vanny said. On the instructions of his father, the younger Doroshenko met the men on a quiet stretch of road leading to the Independence Hotel, he said.

“After they shook hands, they began punching [Ostap Doroshenko] in the face, causing him to fall back into his car,” Mr. Vanny said, adding that the men also fired a stun gun into his back.

“The two suspects are Russians who were traveling in a Camry car without license plates,” he said, adding that the victim then drove his car, which was still running, off the road in an attempt to escape, at which point the suspects fled.

Photos posted to local news websites over the weekend show Ostap Doroshenko’s Porsche Panamera Turbo sedan stopped in a thicket about five meters from the road.

Mr. Vanny said Mr. Doroshenko was treated for his injuries, which the officer said were not serious, at a local clinic Thursday night, then flew to Thailand for additional medical care the next morning.

Contacted Sunday, the elder Mr. Doroshenko quickly accused Mr. Polonsky, 41, of ordering the attack, and claimed that he himself was the intended target.

“My son was beaten by…Polonsky’s associates. If I had gone to meet them, they would have killed me,” he said.

“Last year, Polonsky threatened to kill my whole family,” he said, declining to elaborate the circumstance of on the alleged death threat.

Mr. Doroshenko added that he and his family, including his son’s pregnant wife, are currently in hiding. “My family is in danger,” he said.

Mr. Polonsky denied the allegations. “I have nothing to do with this,” he said by telephone. “I regret that happening.

“I am interested in an investigation going as quickly as possible…. They will find out who did it sooner or later,” he added.

Mr. Doroshenko is embroiled in a number of legal battles with Mr. Polonsky over property in Sihanoukville, including a dispute over the lease on the coastal town’s popular Victory Beach.

Mr. Polonsky’s legal troubles, however, extend much further. In July last year, he was charged in absentia in Russia with embezzling some $180 million from investors in a pair of Moscow developments and subsequently placed on Interpol’s most-wanted list.

The following November, at the request of Russian authorities, he was arrested on Koh Rong following a short-lived chase through the island’s interior, and sent to Phnom Penh’s minimum-security PJ prison to await extradition. But in January, he was freed by the Appeal Court, which ruled that deportation proceedings would be suspended until the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court dealt with an earlier assault case against the fugitive.

In December 2012, Mr. Polonsky was arrested for allegedly forcing six Cambodians to jump off a boat at knifepoint and sent to the provincial prison. He was released on bail about three months later.

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