French Court: Suleiman Kerimov To Pay a US$ 47 Million Bail

Published: 07 December 2017

By Sinead Carolan

A French judge on Thursday ordered Russian legislator and billionaire Suleiman Kerimov to post US$47 million in bail and relinquish his passport as part of an investigation into tax fraud and money laundering at Kerimov’s luxury properties on the French Riviera.

The investigation began after Kerimov’s arrest in Nice in November, as previously reported by OCCRP. At that point his bail was set at only $ 5.9 million, but prosecutors successfully argued for its increase, reported Radio Free Europe. According to Forbes, Kerimov is worth $6.2 billion and is Russia’s 21st wealthiest businessman. His family controls Russia’s largest gold producer, Polyus.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Kerimov’s case is centered around allegations that he used shell companies to evade French taxes. Russian lawmaker, Rizvan Kurbanov, last month described Kerimov's arrest as an "unprecedented demarche by the French".

Kerimov has been linked to money laundering and tax fraud in the past, separate from the current investigation.

He acted as the middle-man when the family of Russia’s first deputy prime minister bought almost US$18 million worth of Gazprom shares through an offshore company just before the government announced that foreigners could purchase stock in the gas company, The Financial Times wrote in 2012.

The Panama Papers revealed Sergei Roldugin, the Russian cellist and businessman, as being the secret caretaker of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s enormous wealth. OCCRP reported in April of 2016 that Roldugin had received large sums of money from Kerimov using opaque financial mechanisms including offshore accounts.