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Sailors Drop Charges Against Russian Tycoon

The head of Russian Mirax construction group Sergei Polonsky seen during the Global Investment & Finance Forum in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
PHNOM PENH - Six Cambodian sailors have dropped their complaints against Russian real estate investor Sergei Polonsky, who remains in custody on charges he threatened and assaulted the men on a boat off the coast of the tourist town of Sihanoukville, officials said Friday.

Authorities say the crew had been hired to take Polonsky, 40, and two other Russian men to an uninhabited island off the coast on Dec. 30. After an altercation, in which Polonsky allegedly threatened the captain of the vessel with a knife, the Cambodians were forced to jump overboard, according to military police documents. The sailors had to call for help from a passing fishing boat and patrolling naval vessel.

Ouch Sopheaktra, an attorney for the sailors, said they had been offered $20,000 to drop the charges.

“The other party wanted to have a settlement to end the lawsuit,” he said.

Hout Vicheat, deputy prosecutor for Preah Sihanouk province, said the case was no longer in the prosecution’s office.

“So you can get in touch with the investigating judge,” he said. “According to our investigating procedure we cannot tell you yet.”

Investigating judge Sor Linna could not be reached for comment.

Heng Thouen, a manager for a guesthouse run by a friend of Polonsky, who helped broker the settlement, said the sailors had already received $1,000 each and had withdrawn their complaint.