Investigation. The Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, close to Putin and targeted by European sanctions, is well known to the French judiciary.

On February 24, just hours after the start of the war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin convened 37 oligarchy in the Kremlin’s Saint-Catherine Hall. These relatives of the head of state are masked, the cowboys are obligated and sit smartly in chairs at intervals from each other. During the meeting, Vladimir Putin recalled them “Duty to Unity” For oligarchy concerned about the impending Western sanctions.

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In fact, many of them have seen their assets frozen or seized by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom. They are too The person is non-grata In these countries they love to go with their family. The latest oligarchy to be added to the list of European sanctions on March 15 are Roman Abramovich and Suleiman Kerimov.

We no longer offer the first owner of the Chelsea Football Club. However, the latter is less well known. In France, Kerimov’s name appeared during a judicial inquiry opened in November 2014 in the Alpes-Maritimes for tax evasion. The judge suspects that four valuable villas in Cap d’Antibes were purchased by shell companies. What’s more, one of these properties, Villa Here, was officially purchased for 35 million euros. His actual price is actually 127 million euros. The remaining 92 million was paid into vendors’ accounts in Switzerland and paid to intermediaries in the form of kickbacks.

In November 2017, without any suspicion, Suleiman Kerimov was arrested for disembarking from his private jet in Nice. His arrest caused a stir and Moscow officially moved it. The French incumbent was summoned to the French embassy in Moscow. Following his police custody, the oligarch is charged with tax evasion and complicity in tax evasion, and shortly escapes pre-trial detention.

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The four villas in question were purchased between 2006 and 2010 by companies controlled by Swiss Holdings. Officially, the beneficiary is Swiss businessman Alexander Stuttalder.

But according to the legal documents that the Radio Investigation Division of France Radio was able to consult, the banks involved in these purchases (Credit Suisse, Barclays and Société Générale Private Banking in Monaco) attested the supporting documents to the trial judge. Kerimov, an oligarch, was the economic beneficiary of this holding company, so he was the owner of the villas. Elements confirmed during the investigation by an employee of one of the banks: “During a visit [villa] Barclay’s Mody Roc, Mr. Studhalter tells us that Ms. Kerimov had to redo the kitchen three times because she did not like it.. Investigators also received emails showing Suleiman Kerimov’s involvement in the operation of the villas.

However, Kerimov has not been charged since January 2021. He is now an assistant witness. Because if there was a connection between him and the villas, it would be difficult to link him with the 92 million euros hidden from the tax authorities. This, in turn, underscores the complexity of these investigations, underlined by NGO Transparency’s Sarah Primbuoff.

“We know for sure with the evidence we have that this person has three or four assets, but if we can not prove that he committed a premeditated crime, there is no reason to confiscate these assets. Further proof is the existence of this original crime.”

Under investigation, the Russian oligarchy and the Swiss financier could escape any trial. The court case will no longer target the sellers of the villas and many intermediaries. On behalf of the buyers, Justice 2020 signed the Judicial Agreement on Public Interest (CJIP), through which the Swiss holding company agrees to pay Swiru. A fine of 1.4 million euros In addition to the tax adjustment made to the company. But the conference did not say Suleiman Kerimov and his role in corporate control.

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Contact, Mr. Kerimov lawyers confirm that their client “No action has been taken against France, so it is not subject to any judicial review.

“His indictment was certainly dismissed because there were no serious or persistent indications of any money laundering.”

Solomon Kerimov’s lawyers

at franceinfo

As shown in the Pandora documents, in these cases involving the real estate of oligarchs, buyers often seek the most sophisticated arrangements, multiplying companies and countries. The Kerimov case clearly shows the difficulties that await French and European authorities in the search for the assets of EU-recognized individuals.

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