French Court Releases Russian Senator Kerimov on Bail

Senator Kerimov denies French authorities’ charges

Senator Kerimov denies French authorities’ charges Suleyman Kerimov

The Russian foreign ministry has sent a note of protest to the French authorities arguing that as a high-ranking official Mr Kerimov has immunity from prosecution overseas, according to Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of parliament. He faces 10 years in prison. This led to raids and seizures, including the seizure of one villa called "Hier" ("Yesterday") in cap d'Antibes last September which is believed to belong to Kerimov.

A tax lawyer and two Swiss businessmen have already been charged over the case.

He has now been released under strict conditions including handing over his passport and posting bail of five million euros. According to some reports, he was in France on personal business, and not on a business trip.

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Kerimov's arrest has sparked strong protests from the Russian government.

"We will apply all efforts, maximum of efforts, to defend his legal interests", a Kremlin spokesman said.

The Russian foreign ministry argued that as a high-ranking official Kerimov has immunity from prosecution overseas.

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Kerimov has a diplomatic passport that theoretically grants him immunity from criminal prosecution.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday night it has notified France that Kerimov has diplomatic immunity.

The politician is estimated by Forbes to be worth $7.4 billion.

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The billionaire previously controlled the region's Anzhi Makhachkala football club, which at one point topped the Russian league when he poured millions into buying players like Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto'o. In March, Mr Putin gave Mr Kerimov an award "For Services to the Fatherland, second class".

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