Russian tycoon demands apology for French arrest

19th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday demanded an apology for his arrest at a French ski resort in January concerning a suspected prostitution ring

     PARIS, December 19, 2007 - Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday
demanded an apology for his arrest at a French ski resort in January
concerning a suspected prostitution ring, urging officials to close the case.
   One of Russia's wealthiest men, the 42-year-old billionaire was detained
along with 25 others in a police raid on a hotel in the swish Alpine ski
resort of Courchevel, where he was celebrating the Christian Orthodox New Year.
   Police swooped on the hotel after an investigation suggested prostitutes
had been procured for guests there.
   Those held for questioning included several Russian businessmen and eight
women in their twenties who said they were models accompanying Prokhorov.
   No charges were finally brought for lack of evidence, but the case remains
formally open.
   In a statement sent to AFP, Prokhorov demanded that the French judiciary
"acknowledge its mistakes", saying that "the inquiry has not moved forwards a
millimetre" over the past year.
   "Why not close the inquiry?" he said, repeating that "I and my friends will
not come back to France until this unbelievable business is over and we have
obtained an appropriate apology."
   Prokhorov's lawyer Alexander Genko-Starosselsky told AFP he intended to
file for a dismissal of the case next month.
   Prohkorov stood down this year as the head of Russian metals giant Norilsk
Nickel, although he still holds a blocking stake in the firm. He now heads an
investment fund specialised in new technologies, Oneksim.
   Russia's fifth wealthiest man and the world's 38th, Prokhorov's personal
fortune is estimated at 13.5 billion dollars (5.9 billion euros), according to
the latest ranking by Forbes magazine.
   His friends claim the Courchevel arrest did "immense damage to his image"
at home.

(AFP)

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