More than a year after fugitive Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky was deported from Cambodia, he has scored a legal win against his Sihanoukville-based rival, prominent Russian businessman Nikolai Doroshenko.
A year-old Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court ruling freezing five of Mr. Doroshenko’s Sihanoukville properties—worth approximately $6 million—over the alleged violation of a 2013 contract transferring the real estate to Mr. Polonsky was upheld by the Court of Appeal, according to a statement dated October 10.
Mr. Doroshenko and his son, Ostap Doroshenko, are “banned from selling, swapping, leasing, depositing and transferring possession…[of] Snake House, houses on the mountain and some properties that were confiscated temporarily,” the court said, referring to the family’s restaurant and properties on Sihanoukville’s Victory Hill.
Presiding Judge Khun Leang Meng declined to comment on the case.
Vladimir Palancica, an associate of Mr. Polonsky’s based in Sihanoukville, said the case is one of 12 that Mr. Polonsky has brought against Mr. Doroshenko.
“This is maybe not such a big win, but it’s a start for Mr. Polonsky,” he said.
Mr. Doroshenko was accused of forgery and breach of trust in March last year after allegedly taking a $200,000 deposit from Mr. Polonsky for real estate, then attempting to sell the same property to someone else for $10 million. In June of the same year, he was released on bail under the condition that he did not leave the country, but has since admitted to doing so multiple times—even appearing on set for an interview on Ukrainian television.
Mr. Polonsky, who invested millions of dollars in Sihanoukville tourism developments before being deported, is currently in prison in Russia on embezzlement charges there.
With this case against Mr. Doroshenko behind him, “the next action is to get a decision in the other cases,” Mr. Palancica said.
Additionally, although the provincial court injunction on the sale of the five properties was implemented in October last year, the Doroshenko family has not abided by the original order as it pertains to the Victory Hill apartments, Mr. Palancica said.
“It has to be made public because he’s still selling these condominiums to people, and the people need to know that, in the end, he is in the court and the apartments won’t belong to the people buying them because of the injunction,” he said.
Mr. Doroshenko could not be reached for comment. According to his son Ostap, however, the ban had already halted this real estate venture.
“We really wanted to sell the condos, but the plan was canceled because the court banned their sale,” he said, referring further questions to his family’s lawyer, Chan Loeksey.
Mr. Loeksey said he “did not know” about the Appeal Court’s recent decision. The initial verdict, he said, was unreasonable.
“The ban is not fair for my clients, because they owe $200,000, but the court issued an injunction banning my clients from selling properties that they have worth almost $6 million,” he said.
“I am considering whether I need to file a complaint with the Supreme Court in the future.”
pheap@cambodiadaily.com, retka@cambodiadaily.com
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