MOSCOW, June 3 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) - Fugitive real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who currently resides in Cambodia, has filed a RUB 200 million ($5.5 million) defamation suit in the Savyolovsky District Court against journalist Vladimir Solovyov and radio station Vesti FM, attorney Alexander Karabanov told RAPSI on Tuesday.
According to the lawsuit, Solovyov spread information containing statements that defame Polonsky during Total Contact radio show broadcast in 2013.
Polonsky claims 100 million rubles in compensation for moral damage from each defendant. Moreover, he demands refutation of 16 statements, removal of the show’s text and audio recording from the radio station’s site and disclosure of a court decision in the broadcast.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 9.
Polonsky spent three months in a Cambodian prison last year on kidnapping charges. The Cambodian police arrested Polonsky, Konstantin Baglay and Alexander Karachinsky on December 31, 2012, on charges of having inflicted harm on the crew of a ship heading back to Sihanoukville from nearby islands. Prosecutors maintained that, while in a state of intoxication, the men threatened the crew with knives, locked them in a hold, and then forced them to jump overboard. Later, the mogul and his friends were released.
After receiving bail, Polonsky fled to Israel, where he sought citizenship, supposedly in a bid to shield himself from extradition to Russia.
He was again detained in Cambodia in November 2013 at the request of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, which seeks his extradition. Polonsky was charged in absentia last July as part of a criminal case involving the embezzlement of over 5.7 billion rubles (over $159 million) from the participants in the up-market Kutuzovskaya Milya condominium project in central Moscow.
In March 2014, Polonsky was officially charged with embezzling over 150 million rubles ($4.2 million) from Rublyovskaya Riviera residential construction project participants in 2008. Investigators believe that he stole the money from future property owners who invested in the project in Moscow via Mirax Build, a subsidiary of Mirax Group.
In 2008, Forbes ranked Polonsky Russia's 40th richest man with a $4.35 billion fortune. His property development company Mirax Group went bankrupt during the global economic crisis.