Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Refugee teachers find work in Germany after training course

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Europe's 'soft power': EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics on European identity

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Goodbye to tax havens? New EU blacklist under the microscope

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Triumph for French women's handball team: All hail 'The Fighters'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France's Macron criticised for 'living like a king'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Power restored at world's busiest airport

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

‘Mexico will not finance US wall,’ foreign minister says

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

AU: African nations must prepare for potential return of thousands of jihadists

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo former child soldiers awarded $10 million in damages in landmark ruling

Read more

Europe

Russian billionaire senator investigated for tax fraud in France

© Sergei Rasulov Jr / Newsteam / AFP (file photo) | Russian billionaire senator Suleyman Kerimov.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-23

A French judge has put Russian billionaire senator Suleyman Kerimov under formal investigation for tax fraud in Nice, hours after Moscow protested his arrest in the French Riviera resort.

Kerimov was detained upon arrival at the airport on Monday, where he faced two days of questioning over alleged tax evasion involving the purchase of luxury properties.

He has now been released under strict conditions including handing over his passport and posting bail of five million euros. He also faces restrictions on his movement, state prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre said.

A source close to the probe told AFP that Kerimov was accused of hiding tens of millions of euros from tax authorities while buying a string of properties on the glitzy Riviera through intermediaries.

His detention prompted the Russian government to summon France's deputy ambassador and angry Russian MPs passed a resolution branding the arrest a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, urging Moscow to press for his release.

"The senator status and the fact that he is a Russian citizen is a guarantee that we will, of course, put in all possible efforts to defend his lawful interests," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

He stressed that 51-year-old Kerimov holds a diplomatic passport, though he is not believed to have used it when he flew in to Nice on personal business Monday.

A spokesman for France's foreign ministry said earlier Kerimov enjoys immunity from prosecution "only for actions carried out in the exercise of his functions" and it would be "up to the judge hearing the case to decide" whether or not the allegations relate to his official role and are covered by immunity.

Listed by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st richest person with an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion (5.4 billion euros), Kerimov made his fortune during the privatisations that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union.

A regular visitor to France's Cote d'Azur, he has owned stakes at various times in Russian energy, banking and mining giants such as Gazprom, Sberbank and potash producer Uralkali.

Crashed Ferrari

A tax lawyer and two Swiss businessmen have already been charged over the case.

In September, local newspaper Nice-Matin reported that a villa on the Cap d'Antibes peninsula near Nice, valued at 150 million euros and thought to be owned by Kerimov, had been seized as part of an investigation.

Swiss financier Alexandre Studhalter -- one of the three men charged -- appealed the decision, denying he was a frontman for Kerimov, who is originally from Russia's North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

The billionaire previously controlled the region's Anzhi Makhachkala football club, which at one point topped the Russian league when he poured millions into buying players like Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto'o.

But after losing a significant part of his fortune, he sold most of his shares in the club.

His family now controls Russia's largest gold producer, Polyus.

Kerimov was once a member of the ultra-nationalist party Liberal Democratic Party, which he left in 2007 to join the ruling United Russia party.

Since 2008, he has represented Dagestan as a senator in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament.

In 2006, he crashed his Ferrari while speeding along Nice's seafront, sustaining severe burns.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-11-23

  • BUSINESS

    Paradise Papers: Apple shifted billions offshore to avoid tax

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France to appeal €1.12 billion Google tax ruling

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Former French budget minister Cahuzac found guilty of tax fraud, money laundering

    Read more

COMMENT(S)