Billionaire Russian senator under investigation in France

Suleiman Kerimov

The French foreign ministry said the lawmaker can enjoy immunity "only for actions which are carried out within the framework of fulfillment of his duties".

Russian billionaire and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov has been placed under formal investigation by a judge in Nice on suspicion of tax fraud in France, local media reported on Thursday. "That's why the energetic work on defending Suleiman Kerimov's interests will continue", TASS cited Peskov as saying.

"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", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Russian state news channel Rossiya 24 reported that Mr Kerimov denied any wrongdoing.

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.


Originally from the mainly Muslim Russian region of Dagestan, Kerimov built his lucrative natural resources business through a combination of debt, an appetite for risk, and political connections.

Kerimov bought Anzhi in 2011 and went on a massive investment spree before reining back his spending and selling the club previous year.

Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st wealthiest businessman, with a net worth of $US6.3 billion ($A8.8 billion).

Kerimov, 51, spent a second night Tuesday at a police station in the southern resort city, where he was arrested on arrival at the airport on Monday night, legal sources said.

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