Polonsky Will Never Return to Russia Again Out of Fear For His Life, Lawyer Says

Fugitive businessman Sergei Polonsky, who is wanted in Russia on embezzlement charges, wants to stay in Cambodia for good and sees no future in his homeland, where all that awaits him is imprisonment, torture and possibly even death, his defense team said in a Cambodian court.

"Polonsky believes that he will be imprisoned in Russia, will be subjected to torture and killed," his lawyers said at a closed court session in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Jan. 13, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Polonsky's defense referred to his multi-million-dollar investments in Cambodia, including a luxury resort on the island of Koh Dek Koule, as an argument against granting Russia's extradition request.

Polonsky's lawyer also said the businessman had purchased eight Cambodian islands.

The Cambodian court earlier granted the defense's request to await the outcome of a separate case against Polonsky for reportedly assaulting local fishermen, before ruling on Russia's extradition request.

Polonsky is wanted in Russia on suspicion of stealing $172 million from shareholders in a residential development project in Moscow but fled the country to Colombia, where he was arrested after a short period of exile in the jungle.

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