Russian lawmaker, arrested, under investigation in France for tax evasion

Posted November 25, 2017

Member of the Federation Council Suleyman Kerimov does not recognize the charges brought to him by the French side, RIA Novosti reports citing the source.

Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the upper house, called Mr Kerimov's arrest "unprecedented" and "inexcusable", arguing that France should have first made a complaint against him to Russian law enforcement. Being formally investigated under France's legal system does not always lead to a court trial.

Karimov's arrest is the result of a three year-long investigation which started after French authorities noticed suspicious cash movements by the French tax lawyer Philippe Chiaverini's secretary.

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French police have detained a Russian lawmaker and businessman as part of a probe into suspected laundering of tax fraud proceeds, according to media reports. His bail has been set at €5m (£4.4m).

The Russian foreign ministry argued that as a high-ranking official Kerimov has immunity from prosecution overseas.

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.

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In Russia, the businessmen, with an estimated net worth of US$ 6.3 billion, is known for his lavish lifestyle and love of fast cars.

Until past year, he owned the football club, Anzhi Makhachkala, which became famous for big-money signings of 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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