Kremlin Vows to Defend Russian Oligarch Who Is Under Arrest in France

Kremlin comments on senator's detention in France

Moscow will do its utmost to defend legal interests of Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov detained in France, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The investigation of Mr Kerimov's affairs in France first came to light early this year when police raided the Villa Hier on Cap D'Antibes that, although nominally owned by a Swiss financier, was believed to belong to the Russian senator. This would have enabled Kerimov to reduce the taxes owed to the French purse.

His detention prompted angry Russian MPs to pass a resolution branding the arrest a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, urging Moscow to press for his release.

In the lower house of parliament, lawmaker Rizvan Kurbanov asked the Russian foreign ministry to make representations on Kerimov's behalf with the French authorities.

"He is being held for questioning in a case related to laundering of tax fraud proceeds", an official at the prosecutor's office said.

Nice public prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre told Sputnik on Sunday that Kerimov, 21st of the richest entrepreneurs in Russian Federation, was taken on Wednesday to the court of Nice where he is being questioned by a judicial investigator.

Recall that Suleiman Kerimov, was detained by the airport in nice.

But after losing a significant part of his fortune, he sold most of his shares in the club.

His family controls Polyus, the country's largest producer of gold.

Kerimov was once a member of the ultra-nationalist party Liberal Democratic Party, which he left in 2007 to join the ruling United Russia party.

In 2006, he crashed his Ferrari while speeding along Nice's seafront, sustaining severe burns.

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