Real value of Kerimov's villa might be 5 times less the price he paid
Villa Hier, legally owned by the Senator’s business partner Alexander Studhalter, was purchased for 35 million euros, while its real cost is 150 million euros, according to certain estimates.
Several villas on the Cote d'Azur registered under Alexander Studhalter, a business partner of Russian Senator Suleyman Kerimov, may worth about 300 million euros, Vedomosti reported citing experts. French law enforcement agencies suspect that Kerimov may be the real owner of the property.
According to papers, Studhalter owns the villas Hier, Medy Roc, Lexa and Fiorells. The largest of them, Hier, with an area of 12.000 square meters, was purchased for 35 million euros. Meanwhile, Nice-Matin estimated the real value of the villa at 150 million euros. Law enforcement authorities suspect that the cost could have been understated to avoid taxation. In total, the villas may be worth about 300 million euros.
Studhalter said in an interview with Le Figaro that Hier Villa was estimated at 35 million euros by an "independent due diligence review" a few weeks before the 2008 deal.
Notably, Kerimov's assistant, Alexey Krasovsky, claimed in the spring of 2017 that the senator had no real estate outside the Russian Federation, and all of his property was listed in the official declaration.
Alexander Studhalter was the president of the Senator’s Suleyman Kerimov Foundation, Vedomosti reported. The board also included Philipp and Albina Studhalter. Besides, Kerimov’s charity foundation is registered under the same address as Studhalter Rechsanwalte, the company where Philipp Studhalter is listed as a trust and property consultant.
Forbes wrote in 2012 that Kerimov's personal assets, including some "mansions in France", were registered via the Swiss Swiru Holding that is also mentioned in the Paradise Papers as the parent company of Altitude 41, the Bahamian firm (no longer exists), whose director is Alexander Studhalter. In 2011 declaration Kerimov filed before the State Duma elections, he stated that he owned a 5% stake in Altitude 41.