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Russian businessman probe continuing - Cambodia judge

January 15, 2013, 19:19 UTC+3

Polonsky said he and his friends had been detained for launching fireworks during the New Year celebration

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HANOI, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - A Cambodian judge said he could not specify how long the probe might last into the criminal case against Russian businessman Sergei Polonsky and his two fellow countrymen - Konstantin Baglai and Alexander Karachinsky - detained in the town of Sihanoukville on December 30 on charges of inflicting injuries and illegally detaining local residents.

Although the Cambodian sailors have withdrawn their claims against the Russians in exchange for compensation, the case against the businessman has not been dropped, municipal court judge Mong Monichakriya said. "The Russians have been charged with malicious physical violence and deprivation of freedom. The investigation continues; I cannot not name the date of its completion," the judge said.

Head of the consulate department at the Russian Embassy in Cambodia Pavel Seskanov earlier said "the prison conditions are normal; no privileges have been granted to anyone. The Russians have not complained about the prison conditions."

The entrepreneur and his friends were detained on December 31, 2012. According to Cambodia police, during a pleasure trip on a yacht, three Russians, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, attacked, with a knife, the crew who were taking them to an island. Three men locked the captain and five crew in a yacht cabin and bathroom and then made them jump overboard.

Polonsky said he and his friends had been detained for launching fireworks during the New Year celebration. The Russians could not produce their IDs to the military who arrived to investigate the noise, and therefore were arrested due to misunderstanding, the businessman claimed.

Sihanoukville prison chief Tan Naret said the Russians were kept in a cell with several Cambodian citizens.

The lawyer of the injured parties said he had withdrawn the damage claims as Polonsky and his friends had paid compensation to his clients, which some sources said reached 20,000 US dollars.

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