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Senator Kerimov’s arrest could trigger ‘witch hunt’ for Russian politicians — MP

Russian Federation Council member Suleiman Karimov has been arrested by French police at the Nice airport

MOSCOW, November 22. /TASS/. Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko believes that senator Kerimov’s arrest in Nice could have unleashed a witch hunt for high-profile Russian businessmen and public officials. The senator noted that she cannot give assessments as only court has to sort out the situation, but noted that she has the right to dwell on it.

"Our counterpart is a world-renowned businessman. There is information now about his alleged arrest for tax violations. If he felt it, he would not have gone to Nice and would have made himself safe. If there were some claims against him, why they were not sent earlier and the process was not set in motion. Interpol is not searching for him, there is no such information, and out of a sudden he gets arrested at an airport in such a rough way," Matvienko said.

"It makes me think that it could be the start of a witch hunt, the start of a hunt for our large businessmen and large political figures," the Federation Council head added, stressing that France’s law enforcement and tax authorities could have addressed the Russian side if they had any claims to Kerimov.

"If France’s law enforcement and tax authorities had any claims to our counterpart Kerimov, there are well-oiled mechanisms [for it]. There is very good, close cooperation between the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the corresponding authorities in France; they could have addressed our law enforcement authorities or invited Kerimov. I am confident he would have agreed. However, this arrest initially raises questions of its [Kerimov’s detention in Nice] expediency and necessity," Matvienko said.

It was earlier reported that Federation Council member Suleiman Karimov had been arrested by French police at the Nice airport. He was taken to a police station. News agency Reuters reported, quoting French prosecutors, that the detention is connected with an investigation into the tax evasion case.