November 22, 2017 / 12:29 PM / a year ago

Scope of Kerimov's immunity status up to judge to decide upon, says France

FILE PHOTO: Dagestani born tycoon Suleiman Kerimov watches a soccer match between Anzhi and CSKA in Makhachkala, Russia December 2, 2012. REUTERS/Sergei Rasulov/NewsTeam/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The scope of the immunity status accorded to Russian businessman and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov, who has been arrested in France, is up to the French judge dealing with the matter to decide upon, said the French foreign ministry.

Kerimov was arrested by French police at Nice airport on Monday evening in connection with a tax evasion case, and the Kremlin said it would do everything in its power to defend his lawful interests.

“It is up to the judge, who has been called upon in this case, to clarify whether the charges that have been brought against him are related to his official roles and would therefore be protected by diplomatic immunity,” said French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne.

Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as one of Russia’s richest businessman, with a net worth of $6.3 billion. His family controls Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Brian Love

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