Turning down a request from Russia, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that it would not extradite fugitive former billionaire Sergei Polonsky to face charges in his home country, citing the lack of a treaty between the two nations.
The verdict marks the second time such a request has been shot down by the Cambodian courts.
“[The Supreme Court] recognizes that the Kingdom of Cambodia and Russia have not signed an extradition treaty, so neither state has an obligation in these cases. Both Cambodia and Russia have the power to decide whether to extradite or not,” said Judge Kim Sathavy, reading out the verdict in court Friday.
In January, the Court of Appeal halted Mr. Polonsky’s extradition, saying the tycoon had to remain here and face charges for his alleged role in assaulting six Cambodian boatmen off the coast of Sihanoukville in December 2012.
Since then, charges against the embattled former billionaire have mounted in Russia, where he stands accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars. In March, he was charged in absentia with the alleged embezzlement of $4.1 million from investors in a residential real estate project. That follows charges filed last year in which Mr. Polonsky is accused of embezzling around $176 million from development investors.
Pointing to the growing sums of money involved, Russia in early April urged a reconsideration of the decision to halt extradition.
Yesterday, with scant explanation, judges turned down the request.
“The Supreme Court does not agree to extradite Sergei Polonsky,” said Judge Sathavy.
Speaking after the announcement of the verdict, Mr. Polonsky’s lawyer, Benson Samay, called the decision “correct.”
“My client has the right to stay in Cambodia because he is innocent,” he said. “We can accept the Supreme Court’s decision because it really gives justice for my client.”
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court officials could not be reached for comment, but earlier this month Judge Svay Tonh said Mr. Polonsky’s assault case had been delayed with no date set for the hearing.