Russia summons French envoy over arrest of oligarch Kerimov

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Moscow summoned a senior French diplomat on Monday over the arrest of Russian oligarch and senator Suleyman Kerimov in Nice in connection to a tax evasion case.

"I confirm that (the chargé d'affaires Paul-Bertrand Barets) was summoned," the Russian Foreign Ministry's press service told AFP on Wednesday.

The chargé d'affaires is a deputy ambassador that takes the top embassy job during the envoy's absence.

Kerimov, originally from Russia's southern Dagestan Republic, was arrested on Monday evening upon his arrival at Nice Cote D'Azur International Airport.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin said Russia will do its best to defend Kerimov's interests.

"The senator status and the fact that he is a Russian citizen is a guarantee that we will, of course, put in all possible efforts to defend his lawful interests," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

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

In the past, he has held shares in the world's largest potash producer Uralkali and controlled Dagestani football club Anzhi Makhachkala but later sold most of his shares.

Kerimov's family now controls Russia's largest gold producer Polyus, where his son is the legal owner of the majority stake.

Since 2008, he represents Dagestan as a senator in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament.


© 2017 AFP

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