France suspects Russian senator Kerimov of money laundering 

France suspects Russian senator Kerimov of money laundering
Suleyman Kerimov Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Bednyakov

In the near future, the hearing will be held and the measure of restraint will be chosen.

Russian businessman and Senator from Dagestan Suleyman Kerimov was detained on suspicion of laundering money received as a result of tax fraud in France. Bloomberg reported this with reference to prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre. Earlier, we recall, it was reported that Kerimov was detained in Nice upon the case of tax evasion. Reuters agency reported that the investigator intends to interrogate the businessman "within the framework of tax evasion investigation."

Officially, the reasons for the detention were not reported, but Kerimov does not recognize the charges, and at the moment he is working with a lawyer. It is noted that in the near future, the hearing will be held and the measure of restraint will be chosen.

Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in Paris told Interfax that Russian diplomats in France are seeking immediate release of Kerimov, as he has a diplomatic passport and cannot be detained on the territory of a foreign state. However, sources say that the Senator arrived in France not with an official visit, but on personal matters.

As reported by RIA Novosti, Kerimov entered the country without a diplomatic passport. They are issued only in the case of  a business trip. All the rest of the senators' diplomatic passport is not kept in their hands, but in the special department of the upper chamber.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Leonid Slutsky expressed the hope that the detention of Russian Senator Suleyman Kerimov in France is a misunderstanding, not a planned provocation.

Recall that in early 2017 at Villa Hier, which is supposedly owned by Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, the French police carried out searches. As reported by Nice Matin, the searches that took place in February are related to the investigation of illegal schemes for the acquisition of French real estate.

Вилла Hier

Villa Hier

Local law enforcers suggest that Kerimov is the true owner of real estate in Antibes with a total area of ​​90 thousand square meters. At the same time the area of ​​Villa Hier is 12 thousand square meters, and only one tapestry in it is estimated at more than half a million euros. Thus, Kerimov can be one of the largest owners of real estate on the Cote d'Azur. However, his name does not appear in the documents.

Later, Kerimov's assistant Alexey Krasovsky denied this information. "Suleyman Kerimov is not the owner of real estate, mentioned in publications, and other real estate outside of Russia," he stressed.

Suleyman Kerimov is a member of the Federation Council from Dagestan since 2008. According to Forbes, in 2016, the businessman took the 45th place among the richest people in Russia with a capital of 6.3 billion dollars (226th place in the world). He made his fortune selling precious metals - his family owns Polyus Gold and the production of potassium chloride (Uralkali). In addition, at various times he owned the shares of VTB and the PIK group. Kerimov himself is not mentioned as the ultimate beneficiary of assets, most of it is registered on relatives.

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