Senior Russian lawmaker and businessman Suleiman Kerimov in a 2012 photo. REUTERS/Stringer
NICE, France - 22 November 2017: Russian businessman and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov was arrested by French police at Nice airport on Monday evening in connection with a tax evasion case, an official at the French prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.
Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st wealthiest businessman, with a net worth of $6.3 billion. His family controls Russia's largest gold producer Polyus.
"He is being held for questioning in a case related to laundering of tax fraud proceeds," the official said.
Representatives for Kerimov could not immediately be reached for comment. Polyus declined to comment.
A source said the investigation centres on the purchase of several luxury residences on the French Riviera via shell companies, something that would have enabled Kerimov to reduce taxes owed to the French State.
The source added Kerimov would be held in custody for at least another 24 hours.