Moscow to protect Russian senator detained in Nice

  • Moscow to protect Russian senator detained in Nice

Moscow to protect Russian senator detained in Nice

Kerimov was put in custody for questioning in the case, Nice 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. Russia's diplomatic mission in France is also engaged in this work.

Kerimov, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to be $6.3 billion, was detained November 20 at the Nice Cote D'Azur International Airport.

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 worldwide agreement.

A public prosecutor said in Nice Wednesday Kerimov would appear in court to be formally placed under judicial investigation, which frequently results in a trial in France.

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

Until past year, Kerimov owned Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala football club, the BBC added.

Kerimov, 51, is among Russia's wealthiest people and a member of Russia's Federation Council.

The representative of the Federation Council, the head of the Committee for worldwide Affairs Konstantin Kosachev has informed that Russia will stand up for the accused in France of Suleiman Kerimov.

Shares in Polyus, Russia's biggest gold producer which is controlled by Kerimov's family, fell on the news of his detention.