French media has published details of the case of Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who represents Dagestan in the Federation Council of Russia and whom the French authorities have accused of tax evasion and money laundering. The channel France 3 reports that the Russian senator has been accused of hiding about €400 million from taxation through the sale of real estate at a lower cost. The channel, citing the prosecutor of the city of Nice, added that the realtor involved in Mr. Kerimov’s case (whose name has not been released) has been arrested. Cedric Faugeroux, the manager of the villas involved, was also detained and released on bail for €140,000.
The prosecution is based on the results of the investigation, which has been active since 2015. According to the French media, companies owned by the Swiss citizen Alexander Studhalter, who together with his parents Rudolf and Albina are engaged in investment and real estate transactions, have been linked to the case; the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation, through which the senator transferred all of his assets before Russian officials were forbidden to own real estate abroad, is also involved. Ostensibly, while joining the charity’s board, Alexander Studhalter conducted transactions on the Cote d'Azur (French Riviera) in the interests of Mr. Kerimov.
Last week, preliminary hearings on the case of Suleyman Kerimov ended. The court found the charges against the senator reasonable, but released him on bail of €5 million, with an obligation to remain in the department of the Alpes-Maritimes. The Public Prosecutor's Office of Nice contested the release of Mr. Kerimov; Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre believes that the senator should enter in pre-trial detention. Suleyman Kerimov has denied involvement in the machinations.