France Hits Russian Tycoon Kerimov With Tax Evasion Charges

Russian billionaire and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov has been arrested in France on tax evasion charges, Agence France-Presse reports. Kerimov was detained upon arrival in France late Monday and underwent two days of questioning over alleged tax evasion in the purchase of luxury properties. State prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre was cited by AFP on Wednesday as saying the Kremlin-connected billionaire has been released on a bail of 5 million euros, but he will face restrictions on his movements and had to hand in his passport. News of Kerimov’s arrest came hours after Moscow summoned France’s deputy ambassador over the 51-year-old billionaire’s detention, arguing that Kerimov holds diplomatic immunity. The French Foreign Ministry has said immunity only applies to actions carried out during his official duties. “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,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.