Russian Billionaire Put Under Formal Investigation In France

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A French judge has placed Russian businessman and parliament member Suleiman Kerimov under formal judicial investigation, charging him with tax evasion.

Forbes Magazine ranks Kerimov as Russia's 21st richest businessman with a fortune of Dollars 6.6 billion.

"He is being held for questioning in a case related to laundering of tax fraud proceeds", an official at the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that Kerimov would defend his own interests, adding that diplomatic missions in Moscow and Paris had also taken "necessary action".

"Certainly, it is noteworthy that Suleiman Kerimov is the holder of a diplomatic passport, with which he entered France".

Swiss financier Alexandre Studhalter - one of the three men charged - appealed the decision, denying he was a frontman for Kerimov, who is originally from Russia's North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

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His family now controls Russia's largest gold producer, Polyus.

Kerimov bought Anzhi in 2011 and went on a massive investment spree before reining back his spending and selling the club a year ago.

Kerimov, who is among the richest people in Russian Federation, was snatched by French law enforcement after arriving in Nice on Monday night.

Representatives for Kerimov could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2006, he crashed his Ferrari while speeding along Nice's seafront, sustaining severe burns.

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