French Prosecutor: Russian Senator Kerimov smuggled "suitcases with cash" into France
The total amount of cash imported by the Senator varies from 500 million to 750 million euros.
Public prosecutor of Nice Jean-Michel Pretre, seeking the arrest of Russian Senator Suleyman Kerimov, said that he smuggled cash in suitcases (20 million euros in each). In addition, part of the funds was transferred to bank accounts. All the money, according to the Prosecutor's Office, was in store for laundering by buying real estate and registering it for formal owners. At the same time, in order to avoid large taxes, the purchased villas were declared at a lower cost. For example, one of the villas was purchased for 37 million euros, whereas its former owners put it for sale for 150 million euros. As a result, the Prosecutor's Office believes, tens of millions of euros in cash and up to 5 million euros of commissions were added to the cost of the villa.
Previously, France 3 reported that Kerimov was accused of underpayment of taxes amounting to 400 million euros. And the total amount of illegally imported money varies, according to preliminary data, between 500 million and 750 million euros.
Recall, Russian oligarch and Senator from Dagestan Suleyman Kerimov was detained on suspicion of laundering money received as a result of tax fraud in France on November 20. Two days later, the oligarch was released on bail of 5 million euros. At the same time Kerimov has been banned from leaving the Maritime Alps until the investigation is completed. In addition, he had to pass a Russian passport and appear in the police dept every Friday. The Russian billionaire is suspected of buying expensive villas on the French Riviera, registered with a frontman, at a reduced price.
Earlier, Russian businessmen and artists signed a letter in support of Suleyman Kerimov. A letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron was sent to the French embassy in Moscow. 13 Russian knights of the Legion of Honor, the highest award of France, signed it. Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, his sister, publisher Irina Prokhorova, Head of Sberbank German Gref, directors Pavel Lungin and Andrey Konchalovsky, former General Director of the Bolshoi Theater Anatoly Iksanov, former President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yury Osipov, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, conductor Valery Gergiev, conductor Yury Bashmet, art critic Olga Sviblova, writer Victor Erofeev and deputy, polar explorer Artur Chilingarov subscribed their names to it.
The signatories hope that the French side will treat the member of the Federation Council with "humanity and humanism, so that his life is not endangered, so that he is allowed to return to the medical help necessary to maintain his life." They remind that Kerimov suffered in a car accident in 2006 and now "his life is supported by a team of doctors, who provide him with a permanent complex treatment." Knights ask the French President to release Kerimov for the sake of friendship between countries and for humanitarian reasons.
The Moscow City Court sentenced Mikhail Maksimenko to 13 years of strict regime and a fine of 165 million rubles ($2.7m) within the case of bribes from representatives of the criminal world. The ICR Colonel denied his guilt, calling the case a frameup.