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Russian senator facing tax evasion charges in France 'hopes to return home shortly'

January 22, 19:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Kerimov, who considers himself innocent, is sure that he will manage to prove that the charges against him are unfounded, Federation Council speaker says

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Suleiman Kerimov

Suleiman Kerimov

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 22./TASS/. Russian senator and businessman Suleiman Kerimov, who is facing money laundering charges in France, is sure that he will prove he is not guilty, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said after meeting with Kerimov, who had spent three days in Russia with the permission of the French invistigative authorities.

"Suleiman Kerimov who considers himself innocent, is sure he will manage to prove that the charges against him are unfounded. That is why, he is not going to hide, he intends to cooperate with the investigation and hopes to shortly return back home," the press service of the Federation Council quoted the speaker as saying.

Kerimov’s detention

Suleiman Kerimov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, was detained at the Nice airport overnight into November 21. Right after his detention, Moscow informed Paris that as a senator, he had diplomatic immunity. However, the French foreign ministry said that Kerimov’s diplomatic immunity was applicable only to his official duties.

On the following day, Kerimov was charged with money laundering and tax evasion. Nice Prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre said that Kerimov would "have to hand his passport over to the police, pay a bail of five million euros and cut off his contacts with individuals included in a list that we cannot make public." Kerimov was left at large but prohibited from leaving the Alpes-Maritimes department of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region of France until the investigation was over.

According to Pretre, the pre-trial investigation will last "at least six months." On Friday, Pretre told France Press that Kerimov had been allowed to make a short three-day trip (from Friday to Sunday) to Russia to visit a close relative.

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