Alexei Kuzmichev, a Russian billionaire, has been detained in France on suspicion of violating EU sanctions and committing tax fraud.
Some 60 police officers raided Kuzmichev’s properties in both Saint-Tropez and Paris after receiving a tip-off from the Russian authorities. It is alleged that Kuzmichev has been involved in money laundering, tax evasion and violating international sanctions.
Kuzmichev is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is one of the so-called ” oligarchs ” who have amassed great wealth in Russia since the fall of communism.
If convicted, Alexei Kuzmichev could face up to 10 years in prison.
This is not the first time that he has been accused of wrongdoing; in 2008, he was charged with fraud in Russia but the charges were later dropped.
He is one of the few Russian billionaires to have remained in Europe since the invasion of Ukraine, and is reported to have launched an appeal to lift the EU sanctions against him, with a decision due in mid November.
Alexei Kuzmichev has also been sanctioned by Canada, the UK, and USA.
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