Senator Kerimov denies French authorities' charges

Nick Sanchez
Ноября 25, 2017

Mr Kerimov's family controls Russia's largest gold producer, Polyus, and he has an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion (£4.7bn).

French police arrested Kerimov on Monday. Being formally investigated under France's legal system does not always lead to a court trial. He faces 10 years in prison.

Russian Federation summoned a French diplomat in Moscow to protest about his detention but he has since been released under strict conditions.

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.

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A tax lawyer and two Swiss businessmen have already been charged over the case. His bail was set at US$ 5.9 million. According to some reports, he was in France on personal business, and not on a business trip.

The Russian foreign ministry argued that as a high-ranking official Kerimov has immunity from prosecution overseas. The arrest, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, violated the protection from "coercive actions" he enjoys as a Russian senator from the Republic of Dagestan.

But state news agency RIA Novosti reported that Mr Kerimov had entered France on his private passport and often only diplomatic couriers and embassy and consulate employees enjoy diplomatic immunity under an global agreement.

Until previous year, he owned the football club, Anzhi Makhachkala, which became famous for signing off stars including the Cameroonian striker, Samuel Eto'o. In March, Mr Putin gave Mr Kerimov an award "For Services to the Fatherland, second class".

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