YEKATERINBURG, December 3. /TASS/. The case of Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov, who was detained in France on suspicion of tax evasion, has nothing to do with bilateral relations between the two nations, France’s Ambassador to Russian Sylvie Bermann said on Sunday.
"Kerimov’s detention has nothing to do with the Russian-French relations. It is a purely legal matter," she said.
Suleiman Kerimov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, was arrested at Nice airport overnight into November 21 on suspicion of tax evasion.
The incident sparked a backlash from Russian politicians. Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said that Kerimov’s detention had unleashed "a hunt for Russian politicians."
A spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry told TASS earlier that Moscow has informed Paris that Kerimov was a senator and a holder of a diplomatic passport and thus enjoyed immunity in other countries. But the French foreign ministry insists Kerimov’s diplomatic immunity is applicable only to his direct office duties.