Alexey Kuzmichev was presented with wads of money
Co-founder of Alfa Group Alexey Kuzmichev detained in France on suspicion of money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes, including “violation of sanctions”, citing the country’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office reported the newspaper Le Monde.
According to the prosecutor’s office, searches were carried out in connection with the businessman’s case, including in his “Parisian home.” A search was also carried out at Kuzmichev’s villa in Saint-Tropez, writes Le Monde. In total, 60 people took part in the investigative activities, including employees of the department for combating corruption and financial and tax offenses and about 40 special forces who were assigned to guard the villa, the territory of which covers more than 2 hectares. According to Le Monde, security forces found “stacks of money” at the villa.
Kuzmichev came under EU sanctions in March 2022. Brussels called the businessman “one of the most influential persons in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism)” who “maintains business relations with [президентом Владимиром] Putin (*international criminal).” Sanctions prohibit entry into European territory. However, Le Monde’s source says that the businessman was already in France at the time he came under sanctions.
After being included in the sanctions list, Kuzmichev resigned from the shareholders of Alfa Bank, where he owned a 16.32% stake, as well as from the board of directors of LetterOne.
At the same time, in March 2022, two yachts allegedly associated with a businessman were detained on the Cote d’Azur as part of sanctions, it was reported LiberationAFP and Le Figaro. As Le Monde writes, Kuzmichev subsequently achieved the cancellation of the arrest of these vessels and “nothing prevents him from using them in the territorial waters of France.”
In May 2022, the billionaire (as of October 2023, Forbes estimates his net worth at $6.4 billion) also tried to challenge the publication by the French authorities of data on the location of his house in Paris and villa on the Riviera. The businessman said that disclosing this information was a “serious invasion of his privacy” and “endangered his life and the lives of his family.” France’s highest court ultimately rejected the claim.