French court allowed billionaire Kerimov accused of tax fraud to go to Russia

The French court released the Russian senator and billionaire Suleyman Kerimov for a short-term trip to Russia, as reported to the French media by the public prosecutor of Nice, Jean-Michel Pretre.

"Mr. Kerimov received permission from the judge to go to Russia to visit a seriously ill relative (sibling or stepbrother) with the obligation to return. He is allowed to carry out this trip between Friday and Sunday (January 21),” said the prosecutor.

Kerimov has been accused by the French government of tax evasion and money laundering as part of an organized criminal group. His case involves illegal cash transfers of about 500 to 750 million euros to the territory of France.

The investigation targets 13 suspects, among them two lawyers from France, a former notary, a real estate agent, and several members of a local wealthy family who evaded paying taxes on a significant amount of money received from Kerimov for the purchase of their villa, in particular villa Hier at Cap d'Antibes.

According to the investigation, Kerimov declared payment of 127 million euros when the real amount of the transaction was 35 million euros. Also, the investigation revealed that the manager of Kerimov's villas on the Cote d'Azur, Cedric Faugeroux, traveled repeatedly to neighboring Switzerland, where he would withdraw hundreds of thousands of Euros in cash and transport it in suitcases to France.

Now the case is being investigated under articles on illegal financial activities and tax evasion as part of an organized criminal group, a crime punishable by 10 years of imprisonment.

Since 2008, the 51-year-old Kerimov has represented in the Federation Council of Dagestan, where he comes from. The businessman has long owned the Makhachkala soccer club Anzhi. Kerimov ranks 21st in the Russian Forbes list of top billionaires. The Kerimov family owns 82.44% of Polyus Gold International and the international airport of Makhachkala.

  Suleyman Kerimov, Russia, France

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