According to Reuters, a French official said: “[Suleyman Kerimov] is being held for questioning in a case related to laundering of tax fraud proceeds.”
Ranked by Forbes magazine in March 2017 as the 21st richest man in Russia, Kerimov has an estimated net worth of $6.3bn (£4.8bn, €5.4bn). On a global list of billionaires, he is ranked 226.
His family controls Polyus, the country’s largest producer of gold.
Citing a source close to the investigation, the newswire reported that it centres on the purchase of several luxury residences on the French Riviera via shell companies. This would have enabled Kerimov to reduce the taxes owed to the French purse.
No political protection
Despite holding a diplomatic passport, the French official said: “That does not protect him from prosecution.”
According to the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation website, Kerimov was a member of the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia from 1999 to 2007. Since 2008, he has been a member of the upper house representing the Republic of Dagestan, the region in which he was born.