Russia protects senator-oligarch charged with fraud in France
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny commented on the scandal around the detention of Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov (51) in Nice, France. In his opinion, Paris did what Moscow had to do a long time ago.
Since 2008 Kerimov has been elected to represent the Republic of Dagestan in Russia’s parliament upper house. Navalny, who is leading the Anti-Corruption Fund recalled that for many years Kerimov was a member of the State Duma and the Federation Council, being an elected official, the category of citizens is prohibited to engage in business activities as incompatible with serving people of Russian Federation. Nevertheless, Kerimov is often referred to as a successful acting businessman, appearing in Forbes. This year the publication estimated Kerimov worth $ 6.3 billion.
Navalny analyzed Kerimov’s declarations for the past four years and found that, despite impressive earnings from 12 million rubles to 109 million rubles a year, the businessman is almost a ‘beggar’ owning less than modest property, namely a tiny studio of 37.8 square meters, and one third of the share in another apartment of 53.5 square meters. The Anti-corruption Fund considers such data submitted by senator Kerimov as “obvious lies”.
Navalny recalled that in France Kerimov was accused of laundering funds, believing that these funds were originally stolen from Russia, now actively defending a individual, who violated Russian laws.
Russian prosecutor’s office and the Investigation Committee should be after Kerimov, co-operating with French justice, but not defending him suggests Navalny, regretting that Kerimov was arrested in France, but not in Russia, as he should.
Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov was detained in Nice on November 20. He was charged with laundering money and evading taxes. The French authorities suspect Kerimov of creating a system of intermediaries and companies to purchase the villas at Cote d’Azur. Furthermore the prices at which his real estates was acquired were too low and did not reflect the market value.
The Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko demands the immediate release of senator Kerimov, being indifferent to his money laundering activities.