Russian Businessman Polonsky Charged in Absentia With Fraud

MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russian construction mogul Sergei Polonsky has been charged with fraud in absentia after he failed to appear at a summons from investigators, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The charges against Polonsky, the former head of the Mirax Group construction firm (now renamed Potok), are part of a criminal case involving the embezzlement of over 5.7 billion rubles ($176.2 million) from the participants of the Kutuzovskaya Milya cooperative residential construction project in Moscow.

“The charges have been brought in absentia through his lawyer,” the ministry said, adding Polonsky could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The whereabouts of Polonsky, once one of Russia’s 100 wealthiest men, is uncertain. He was until recently on bail in Cambodia, where he was arrested together with two Russian friends, Konstantin Baglay and Alexander Karachinsky, on December 30, 2012, for allegedly attacking the six-men crew of a boat ferrying them from a Cambodian island to the resort city of Sihanoukville. They have denied any wrong-doing.

Polonsky was released in April on $50,000 bail and on condition he could not leave the country until his trial. However, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday earlier this month, he had fled Cambodia and was in Israel. The paper claimed to have tracked him down to a luxury apartment complex in Tel Aviv.

The Interior Ministry said Friday a federal warrant for Polonsky’s arrest will be issued in line with the Russian laws, followed by an international warrant if he is not found in Russia or in the neighboring states.

The former billionaire is legally represented in Russia by lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky, who said on Friday he had not been notified about Polonsky’s summons to the Interior Ministry.

Updates with Interior Ministry statement on Polonsky arrest warrant in para 6.

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