Russian oligarch Alexey Kuzmichev has been detained in France following allegations related to tax evasion, money laundering, and the breach of international sanctions, as revealed by the French Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). Police raided properties in both Saint-Tropez and Paris, which are linked to the tycoon, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, BBC reported.
The French investigative judges on Wednesday put Russian tycoon Alexey Kuzmichev under formal investigation, Reuters reported. He is suspected of violating EU sanctions and tax fraud.
Renowned as one of the most influential figures in Russia by the European Union, Kuzmichev has deep-rooted ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Monday saw investigative searches being carried out at multiple venues, including Kuzmichev’s luxurious Parisian apartment, as per the PNF’s statements. Reports from the French news outlet, Le Monde, also indicate a search operation at his opulent villa in Saint-Tropez.
Though arrested on Monday, as of Tuesday, no formal charges have been pressed against the billionaire. Representatives for Kuzmichev chose to remain silent when approached for comments. However, the Kremlin, through its spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, expressed that it stands ready to protect the rights of Kuzmichev and awaits comprehensive details on the case from Paris.
Highlighting the mogul’s run-ins with French authorities, last year witnessed the confiscation of his 27-meter luxury yacht by French customs. This seizure was in alignment with Brussels’ sanctions on Moscow. Kuzmichev, a pivotal shareholder in Russia’s Alfa Bank, subsequently entered into a legal tussle with the authorities post this incident.