French police detained Russian billionaire oligarch Alexei Kuzmichev on Monday, in an investigation into money laundering, tax fraud and violations of international sanctions.
As part of a preliminary probe by France’s anti-corruption office (OCLCIFF), police on Monday carried out multiple searches at several locations in France, including Kuzmichev’s property in Paris, a spokesperson for France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) confirmed to POLITICO.
Kuzmichev was detained Monday and remained in custody on Tuesday.
According to French daily Le Monde, Monday’s raids included more than 60 officers and Kuzmichev’s villa in Saint-Tropez was also searched.
Kuzmichev, a shareholder of Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest private investment firms, was sanctioned by the EU along with several other Alfa Group shareholders after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. The EU considers Kuzmichev “one of the most influential persons in Russia,” with close ties to Putin and the Russian regime.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday told reporters that Russia had not received information on Kuzmichev’s arrest yet, but that it was ready to help him.
“After receiving the information, and also if the detainee so wishes, of course we will assist in protecting his rights as a citizen of Russia,” Peskov said, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.
Last year, Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman — another Alfa Group shareholder — was also detained in London, POLITICO reports.