The French authorities dropped all charges from the Russian senator and billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, two of his acquaintances told Vedomosti. The Senator, who was in France under house arrest on suspicion of tax fraud, was released a little more than a month after the visit to Russia of French President Emmanuel Macron (he came to St. Petersburg on May 24). The situation around Kerimov was supposed to be discussed during this visit, a person close to the Kremlin knows, but whether such a discussion took place and at what level - does not specify.
Claims to Kerimov are no more, he will be soon returned to his passport and deposited bail, Interfax reported on Thursday. The publication Nice-Matin writes that the decision to dismiss the case against Kerimov and the Swiss businessman Alexander Studhalter, also arrested in this case, received the Court of Appeal of the region of Aix-en-Provence. Vedomosti's requests to the press services of this court, the Interior Ministry and the French Foreign Ministry, as well as to the Russian Foreign Ministry, remained unanswered. Assistant Kerimov in the Federation Council on Thursday evening was unavailable for journalists. A spokesman for the upper chamber told Vedomosti that there was no information about Kerimov in the Federation Council.
Among the possible reasons for the release of the senator - his active support of the Russian elite, said political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko: "It is clear that the creation of such a precedent (the date Kerimov French law enforcement agencies -" Vedomosti ".) It would be dangerous from the point of view of loyalty [elites]. And in this sense, I think it's a good case that if you are loyal, then they will help you. " Signs of the future softening of the position of French law enforcement officers were also earlier, the expert says: this could be guessed when Kerimov was temporarily released into Russia. Since his arrest in November 2017, he has been to Russia twice - in January and May 2018.
According to Aleksei Panin, partner of Urus Advisory, there is no need to look for political implication in Kerimov's case: "Cases against politically significant persons are being conducted in many countries, and not all of them necessarily grow into a geopolitical plane. In this case, you can just talk about the good work of lawyers. " In his opinion, it would be possible to speak about a political decision on the part of France or Russia if the investigation were going on against a political dissident.
After the appearance of information on the withdrawal of Kerimov's accusations quotes the largest Russian gold miner Polyus (2.16 million ounces in 2017) rose 5.9% on the Moscow Stock Exchange and 4.8% on London. Formally, the senator has no relation to the "Pole": since 2015, the main shareholder is his son Said Kerimov. But investors are still actively reacting to all the news related to Kerimov-seniors: when he got on the US Treasury's list of sanctions in early April, Polyus shares fell by 14.8% (to $ 9.6 billion). Oleg Petropavlovskiy from BCS Global Markets writes that the news about the withdrawal of charges from Kerimov will have a positive impact on the company's quotes, although they will not be able to outweigh the negative feeling due to the senator's entry under sanctions. "The news related to the name of Kerimov still has an impact on the company's value, although it is not already its shareholder," the analyst notes.
Kerimov was detained at Nice airport on November 20, 2017, three days later the Nice prosecutor's office accused him of tax evasion and money laundering when buying real estate. The prosecution demanded arrest, but the court released the senator on bail: first the amount was 5 million euros, then it was increased to 40 million. At the same time, Kerimov was obliged to pass the passport and forbade him to leave the department of the Primorsky Alps.
AFP then reported that the senator is suspected of concealing tens of millions of euros from the tax authorities when buying a villa on the Cote d'Azur through intermediaries. Kerimov is called one of the largest owners of real estate, although his name is formally not associated with any object, wrote in the spring of 2017 Nice-Matin. In particular, Hier villa, where 15 February 2017 were searched, was officially purchased Shtudhalterom, but law enforcement authorities suspected that "through a chain of companies registered in Monaco, and Luxembourg, and French banks" its current owner may be Kerimov informed Nice -Matin.