Legal owner of alleged Kerimov’s Villa says France just wants to grab extra tax

Legal owner of alleged Kerimov’s Villa says France just wants to grab extra tax
Suleyman Kerimov Photo: Denis Grishkin / RIA Novosti

Businessman Alexander Stuhldhalter said there was pressure exerted on Senator Suleiman Kerimov by the French authorities.

The Swiss entrepreneur and formal owner of the Villa Hier in the French Riviera said that the French law enforcement and tax authorities were putting pressure both on him and his friend and business partner Suleyman Kerimov to "illegally collect a tax," Vedomosti reported.

Suleyman Kerimov was detained in Nice on November 20. On the night of November 23, after questioning, he was charged with money laundering and tax evasion and released on bail of 5 million euros. The senator was also banned from leaving France. According to the French media, apart from the tax fraud, Kerimov is suspected of buying a villa on the Cote d'Azur through intermediaries.

In February 2017, Stuhlhalter’s villa was searched: law enforcement agencies were trying to establish whether it had been acquired legally and whether it actually belonged to the businessman. This is the same villa the Russian senator is allegedly associated with.

The Swiss businessman said he would win the case, RBC reported. He noted that he had already won in the appellate court considering Villa Hier in 2008. Stuldhalter also stressed that he represented a family whose fortune is estimated at one billion Swiss francs. According to the businessman, the money had been there before his projects with former Soviet entrepreneurs ever started.

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