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Russian Billionaire Held in French Crime Probe

Kremlin vows to defend Suleiman Kerimov, a politician and successful speculator.
24 November 2017

Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov (pictured) is free on bail in France after being arrested in the city of Nice on Monday on suspicion of money laundering and tax fraud.


Kerimov, 51, whose family controls Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer, was released Wednesday on a bail of 5 million euros. He was ordered to remain in the southeastern Alpes-Maritimes French region, The Moscow Times reported.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would make efforts to defend Kerimov, a member of the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.


Both Kerimov and his representative in France have been placed under formal investigation, the Financial Times cited AFP as reporting.


Kerimov was apparently caught up in an investigation into the acquisition of several villas by shell companies linked to him.


Kerimov holds a diplomatic passport, but the French Foreign Ministry said it gave him immunity only while carrying out official duties and a judge would decide whether he is protected by diplomatic immunity in this case, The Moscow Times says.



  • Kerimov “built his lucrative natural resources business through a combination of debt, an appetite for risk, and political connections,” the Guardian writes.


  • His wealth, estimated at more than $17 billion in 2008, slumped to just $3 billion a year later as the financial crisis intensified. He is now worth about $6 billion, according to Forbes.


  • He has also invested widely in his native Dagestan and at one time owned the top-flight Russian football team Anzhi Makhachkala.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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