Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2015

Russia Seeking Tycoon Polonsky’s Extradition from Israel, Cambodia, and, Possibly – Outer Space

Back in 2013, Russian law enforcement officials petitioned the Israeli government, seeking Polonsky's extradition, believing he was hiding in Israel.

Sergei Polonsky

The Cambodian Ministry of Justice is reviewing a draft extradition treaty with Russia, as part of a process aimed at deporting fugitive tycoon Sergei Polonsky deported to Russia, to face charges of real estate fraud.

According to a Russian Interior Ministry press release, Polonsky was charged in absentia with fraud relating to a property firm he founded, which is accused of stealing more than $172 million from people who had prepaid for apartments in a residential housing complex it was building.

According to a Ministry spokesman, the draft treaty has been passed “many times” between Russian and Cambodian officials, “but we have yet to conclude” the negotiations.

“We have never had an extradition treaty before, so we need to look closely at it before we can send any Russians, including Polonsky, back to face charges, ” the spokesman added.

Back in 2013, Russian law enforcement officials petitioned the Israeli government, seeking Polonsky’s extradition, believing he was hiding in Israel.

The drafting of Cambodia’s first extradition treaty with Russia comes two weeks after the former’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong had met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, March 4.

Moscow had requested the extradition of 42-year-old former billionaire Polonsky several times, only to be denied by Cambodian courts. Then came the meeting between the two foreign ministers.

Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that the two countries were in the final stages of drawing up their extradition treaty.

“A final meeting of experts has been scheduled for this month and we hope that after this, intrastate procedures can be activated for signing” the treaty, Mr. Lavrov said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Should the noose be pulled tightly around his neck, there may be one escape left for Sergei Polonsky: in 2004 Polonsky was going to board a flight to the International Space Station, and even completed the cosmonaut training course. The flight did not take place, because he was too tall and there just wasn’t enough room for his legs under the console.

If he still has that ticket to the space station, now would be a good time to use it — and squeeze a little all the way up.

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