French police have detained a Russian lawmaker and tycoon in southern France as part of a probe into suspected laundering of tax fraud proceeds, a French prosecutor said Tuesday. Kerimov sold Anzhi a year ago.
Russian Federation called in a French diplomat in Moscow to protest at the detention, the BBC said, adding that a Kremlin spokesman had insisted that Kerimov had diplomatic immunity.
He has now been released under strict conditions including handing over his passport and posting bail of five million euros. His family controls Polyus, Russia's largest gold producer.
Forbes Magazine ranks Kerimov as Russia's 21st richest businessman with a fortune of Dollars 6.6 billion.
"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.
A representative for Kerimov in the upper house of Russia's parliament, where he sits as a lawmaker, declined to comment on the case on Wednesday when contacted by Reuters.
Shares in Polyus fell more than 3 percent in early trade in Moscow on Wednesday but then recovered some ground to close down 1.25 percent.
A French judicial source said Kerimov faces accusations of purchasing several luxury homes on the French Riviera using shell companies, which would have enabled him to reduce his tax obligations to France.
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