Ponhea Leu Village, Kandal Province – Seated in the spacious living room of his newly-built house, Som Sothareth, spoke evenly as he as explained how Russian pedophile Stanislav Molodyakov had called him on Sunday asking if he could “visit.”
“The King pardoned him, so he must have changed his character,” Mr. Sothareth, 43, said of Molodyakov, who was arrested at Mr. Sotharet’s home early Monday morning.
A former employee of Koh Puos Investment Group – the company behind a multi-million dollar island resort of the coast of Sihanoukville formerly headed up by Molodyakov – Mr. Sothareth said the Russian pulled up to his home in a black Lexus SUV at about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday and spent the night there.
The following morning, Molodyakov “was about to have breakfast when the police came inside and asked him for his passport,” Mr. Sothareth said. “He did not show his passport, so they arrested him.”
Molodyakov, better known as Alexander Trofimov, was arrested on an Interior Ministry order less than six months after he received a royal pardon and was released from prison, where he served just half of an eight-year sentence for sexually abusing 15 Cambodian children.
On the day of his arrest, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said he suspected Molodyakov may have sexually abused Mr. Sothareth’s 12-year-old daughter.
Mr. Sothareth dismissed this allegation along with rumors that Molodyakov had paid for the construction of his home – or ever visited before.
Neighbors, however, contested that account.
“In February, I saw him [the Russian] come here for three days,” said an elderly neighbor who witnessed the early-morning arrest of Molodyakov, but declined to give his name for fear of reprisals, adding that he had also seen Molodyakov’s SUV arrive on Sunday.
“I saw his car parked in front of the house during the day on election day [Sunday],” said Chab Panha, 20, “I did not see him though.”
Other neighbors say they knew nothing of Molodyakov or his past until after his arrest.
“I heard people saying that police came and arrested the Russian guy,” said Chuon Nov, 67, “People now know that he’s a millionaire, and he built a bridge to Koh Puos,” referring to the Snake Island development in Sihanoukville.
Senior police and government officials said Wednesday that Molodyakov is being held at immigration police headquarters and will shortly be extradited to Russia, where the serial child abuser is wanted by a court in the city of Mytischi for the violent rape in 2004 of two 11-year-old girls and 10-year-old girl.
In 2009, Russia formally requested that Molodyakov be extradited to his native country to stand trial there. Upon his early release from Preah Sihanouk provincial prison in December, 14 child protection child protection NGOs signed a petition urging the Cambodian government to honor the extradition request.
Officials yesterday provided no new details about Molodyakov’s pending departure. Mr. Chantharith said the Interior Ministry is still waiting for travel documents from the Russian Embassy in Phnom Penh that will allow Molodyakov to legally leave the country.
Asked when he expects the documents to be ready, Mr. Chantharith said, “We don’t know yet.”