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Trading Places (Again): Doroshenko Free; Polonsky in Psychiatric Clinic

Jack Laurenson / Khmer Times Share:
Nikolai Doroshenko (C) is pictured in a reunion meal with his wife Elena (L) and son Ostap (2nd-L), in a photo taken shortly after his release from Preah Sihanouk provincial prison. Photo: Facebook

SIHANOUKVILLE (Khmer Times) – The future of Sihanoukville’s Doroshenko clan is uncertain despite the release on bail last weekend of Nikolai, the family patriarch. He spent 10 weeks in jail failing to appear before the Provincial Court to answer fraud allegations made by long-time rival Sergei Polonsky.

Polonsky and several of his employees were deported from Cambodia last month. But the coast may not be clear for Doroshenko, a well-known business entrepreneur here for over 20 years.

Provincial Police Chief Chuon Narin told reporters that Mr. Doroshenko had been granted “freedom” by the Supreme Court due to his declining health. But the charges against him have not been dropped. 

Supreme Court Vice President Khim Pon told media that the court  released Mr. Doroshenko on bail because of his heart condition. But he said the businessman cannot travel overseas or change his residence. It is believed that Mr. Doroshenko surrendered to authorities his passport and documents related to business ventures as investigations continue into alleged crimes. 

Family Reunion

Social media posts show Nikolai’s excited son, Ostap Doroshenko – a former captain in Sihanoukville’s tourist police who now works at the Interior Ministry – celebrating his father’s return with his mother and friends. He posted a photo of their family enjoying a meal in Sihanoukville alongside the description: “My father is home!” 

Foreign residents of Sihanoukville, including many Russians, commented on the posts by sending congratulations and expressing happiness that Mr. Doroshenko had been released. 

“I am very happy that he has been released and he will go back to work as normal,” Ostap Doroshenko told reporters. He also  expressed confidence that his family’s name would soon be cleared, saying they were cooperating with authorities and could prove his father did not commit fraud against Mr. Polonsky. 

Russian Feud Grabbed Headlines

Mr. Doroshenko’s imprisonment followed years of legal disputes with Mr. Polonsky, a former business partner. The high-profile feud – which occasionally descended into lawlessness on the streets – grabbed headlines in Cambodia and around the globe. 

Shortly before his arrest and deportation to Russia in mid-May, Mr. Polonsky alleged that Mr. Doroshenko faked documents to illegally obtain $10 million from a joint investment on Mr. Polonsky’s infamous “Snake Island.” 

Since the souring of their relationship, the wealthy Russians have accused each other of theft, fraud and even attempted murder after a brutal attack on Ostap Doroshenko left him hospitalized. Ostap has alleged that thugs linked to Mr. Polonsky’s were behind the attack. 

Mr. Polonksy now faces trial in Moscow for embezzlement. It is unclear what will happen to his allegations against Mr. Doroshenko and it is unclear what will happen to the island properties he leased from the government.

Benson Samay, Mr. Polonsky’s Cambodian lawyer, has told reporters that his hands are tied since he cannot contact his client. Mr. Polonsky is being held in state psychiatric facility in Moscow to assess his fitness to stand trial and to determine if he requires compulsory treatment for mental illness.  

Finances Take a Hit

In Sihanoukville, the jailing of Mr. Doroshenko, a Russian-educated reptile expet, led to the temporary closure of his popular snakebite treatment clinic here. According to Ostap Doroshenko, the clinic treated up to 60 patients per month for free and provided training for local doctors. He says it will soon reopen. 

The family’s finances took a hit from legal bills and the nearly two-month imprisonment of the patriarch, according to Mr. Doroshenko’s son.

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