Russia’s former real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who is wanted on fraud charges, has left Israel for personal safety reasons, his lawyer, Diana Tatosova, said on Friday.
“Yes, I bear witness to the fact that Polonsky has flown out of Israel as there he faced a threat to his security,” she said.
The lawyer did not confirm or deny reports that Israeli authorities had denied him the country’s passport. Tatosova also did not disclose the businessman’s destination.
An Itar-Tass source close to the businessman said that Polonsky had recently considered moving from Israel to Thailand but had not yet made a final decision.
The businessman had been put on the international wanted list on July 25. Polonsky had asked the Israeli Interior Ministry to grant him citizenship in order to avoid criminal prosecution in Russia. Polonsky's lawyer Diana Tatosova said Polonsky's request to issue him an Israeli passport had nothing to do with his avoiding responsibility in Russia.
On June 14, Russian Interior Ministry investigators charged Sergei Polonsky in absentia with fraud in the project to build the Kutuzovskaya Milya residential area. More than 80 citizens were recognized as injured parties. The investigators said the Polonsky-controlled company had received some 5.7 billion rubles from investors but later suspended construction failing to meet the contract terms. The company's administration then initiated bankruptcy proceedings and liquidation.
Earlier Polonsky placed an address to the Interior Ministry's investigation department on Facebook stating that he had no intention to escape. He noted however that he had to stay in Israel. In his view, the charges within the Kutuzovskaya Milya case should be changed from fraud to "theft of money belonging to Polonsky's company by a group of persons."