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Arrested Tycoon Polonsky Awaits Extradition to Russia

BANGKOK — A Russian consular official in Cambodia said Tuesday that he has visited tycoon Sergei Polonsky in jail and that the conditions of his detention appear to be satisfactory.

Polonsky, who is wanted in Russia on embezzlement charges, was arrested this week on the island of Koh Rong off the west coast of Cambodia as he hid in the jungle. He is due to be extradited to Russia, a process his lawyer said Tuesday could take from five to seven days.

The head of the consular section of the Russian Embassy in Cambodia, Pavel Seskanov, said Polonsky was being held in an Interior Ministry pre-trial detention facility in Phnom Penh.

"Polonsky made no complaints about the conditions of the detention," Seskanov said.

Rossiya-24 television channel reported Monday that the 41-year-old tycoon had been taken to a police precinct in handcuffs, wearing only a beach towel. It took police several hours to find and arrest him, the report said.

Polonsky said Monday that police had showed no warrant for his arrest and had fired shots during the detention, the report said. He said his arrest was "a complete outrage."

Paddy Robinson, manager of the Monkey Island resort on Koh Rong, said police reached the island by speedboat at around 7 a.m. local time Monday, The Cambodia Daily reported.

Robinson told the paper that police searched bungalows and the jungle in their hunt for the former real estate magnate.

"He was quite well liked on the island because he had a habit of buying a whole bar full of people drinks," Robinson said.

Another two foreign nationals and a Cambodian were detained for assisting Polonsky's escape attempt, a police official said.

An overnight search operation for Polonsky was launched after he posted a video on Facebook appearing to show a senior Cambodian police officer demanding $1 million for helping him to avoid extradition to Russia, Polonsky's lawyer said Monday.

Last week, Russia's Prosecutor General's Office said it had sent an official extradition request to Cambodia, where Polonsky had been living on his own island, near Koh Rong.

Cambodia granted him citizenship in September after judges there cleared him of liability in an alleged attack on several locals.

Once one of Russia's richest businessmen, Polonsky has been charged in absentia in Russia with involvement in an alleged 5.7 billion ruble ($175 million) embezzlement scheme that targeted investors in an upscale residential project in Moscow.

His lawyer said last week that Polonsky had sent a statement to Russian prosecutors and investigators naming the individuals he believes committed the embezzlement.

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