Published: Wed, November 22, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russian lawmaker detained in France in tax fraud case

Russian lawmaker detained in France in tax fraud case

Moscow, Nov 22 Moscow summoned a senior French diplomat on Monday over the arrest of Russian oligarch and senator Suleyman Kerimov in Nice in connection to a tax evasion case.

Much of Kerimov's fortune comes from controlling Russia's largest gold producer Polyus, though he has also held shares in potash giant Uralkali and construction company PIK Group. "They promptly arrived at the airport and secured a meeting with Kerimov, it was at about 3:30 am (5:30 am, Moscow time)", the embassy said.

"We will do everything in our power to protect his lawful interests", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

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

"All this testifies to an unprecedented demarche by the French", he said, adding that he hoped the Russian foreign ministry would issue a formal protest.

A villa owned by Kerimov in the cap d'Antibe in southeastern France
Image A villa owned by Mr Kerimov in Cap d'Antibe in southeastern France

Russia's Foreign Ministry said that it has informed French authorities that Kerimov is a Russian senator with a diplomatic passport, and as such, entitled to immunity.

Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st wealthiest businessman, with a net worth of $6.3 billion.

He owned top flight soccer club Anzhi Makhachkala until he sold it in 2016.

"Right after the information came, officers from the secretariat of the Russian Consulate General in Villefranche-sur-Mer left for the airport of Nice".

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