Court denies Nice Prosecutor’s request to arrest Russian Senator Kerimov
The court also increased Kerimov’s bail from 5 million euros to 40 million euros.
Court of Aix-en-Provence has ruled that Senator Suleyman Kerimov shall not be taken into custody for money laundering. Kerimov, therefore, remains under the obligation not to leave the place.
"Mr. Kerimov remains at large under judicial control, the investigation procedure will continue as usual," the prosecution stated after the court session.
In addition, the court ruled that the bail Kerimov has to pay would be increased from 5 million euros to 40 million euros.
The French Prosecutor's Office has not yet been able to obtain the arrest of the Russian oligarch and Senator. Previously, the court of first instance in Nice had denied the prosecution’s request to leave Kerimov in remand prison, where he spent more than two days after detention. He was released on bail of 5 million euros, with a number of restrictions and a ban on leaving the department of the Maritime Alps before the investigation is completed.
The public prosecutor of Nice, Jean-Michel Prêtre, intends to obtain Kerimov's arrest in the tax evasion and money laundering case. Earlier, the Prosecutor's Office managed to have Villa Hier arrested, since it had been bought with Kerimov's money while registered under his friend Alexander Studhalter.
"This is a matter of great importance. From 500.000.000 euros to 750.000.000 euros was brought into France. The investigation has found that the villa has been visited more than once. It was not drug trafficking, it was money that was being transported," Jean-Michel Prêtre stated.
Earlier, he said that the money had been brought in suitcases with 20.000.000 euros in each. It also came to bank accounts. However, the prosecutor did not give any evidence to the press. He admitted that Kerimov did abide by all of the restrictions imposed on him, but added: "Do you know why he is still here? Look for the answer in Moscow."
Besides the Russian Senator, 12 more people are on the case: real estate agents (one of them, Irina Sadykova residing in Nice, remains under arrest), architects, decorators and Cédric Faugeroux, who was also released on bail of 140.000 euros. The French Prosecutor's Office is going to re-gather the suspects for new interrogations.