"Let's welcome our French sidlek Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov who, after a long break, returned to our team," the Speaker of the Council of Federation Valentina Matvienko said today during the session of the Upper Chamber of the Parliament. According to her, Kerimov's colleagues "sympathized" and "fought" for him. Today Kerimov, representing the Republic of Dagestan in the Federation Council, for the first time since November 2017 attended the meeting.
In late June, the authorities of France withdrew from Kerimov charges of tax fraud when buying real estate on the Cote d'Azur. Investigators failed to collect sufficient evidence of the billionaire's guilt, after which the court in Nice transferred him to the status of an assisted witness. Kerimov returned a passport and a deposit of € 40 million, after which he was able to leave France, where he was forced to be under a written undertaking not to leave the place.
It was assumed that Kerimov would come to Bolshaya Dmitrovka yesterday, July 12, but he could not do it because of poor health. In her welcome speech, Valentina Matvienko noted that the senators were "sincerely pleased" that Kerimov was able to prove his innocence and "did not run away, did not worry."
Suleiman Kerimov was detained at Nice airport on the evening of November 20, 2017. The billionaire was suspected of money laundering and tax evasion. Initially, he was released under a written undertaking not to leave the city and a pledge of € 5 million, but in December of the same year the court decided to increase the collateral to € 40 million. Since then, the investigating judge several times gave permission for Kerimov to leave France, including him came to Russia.
According to French investigators, for several years Kerimov bought on the Mediterranean coast of France premium properties worth at least € 400 million. It is the senator from Dagestan who is the true owner of the Hier, Medy Roc, Lexa and Florella villas, but the French budget has not received any taxes from their purchase, claimed the channel France3.
The accomplices of the crime, according to the investigation, were also Philip Borghetti, who is a citizen of Switzerland, and Alexander Studhalter. The first was the seller of the Villa Hier on Cape Antibes, whose price exceeds € 100 million, and Studhalter became its formal buyer. In turn, the French tax lawyer Stefan Kiaverini acted as an intermediary in concluding the transaction. It was after studying his activities that French law enforcers became interested in transactions with villas in Antibes, the largest of which was Hier. As a result of several transactions, the French budget was missing about € 100 million, Mediapart reported.
The claims of French law enforcement officers became a formal reason for imposing personal sanctions on the part of the US Treasury against Suleiman Kerimov in April this year. However, despite the termination of the case, these sanctions are unlikely to be easily removed, experts say.