On November 1, 2023, Russian billionaire Alexei Kuzmichev, aged 61 and known for his association with Vladimir Putin, was arrested and charged by the Parquet National Financier (PNF) for alleged money laundering, tax evasion, and violating international sanctions. He was required to post a $8.5 million bond.

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French authorities have initiated investigations into several Russian oligarchs connected to Putin, primarily focusing on potential money laundering and tax fraud related to their real estate assets in the country. Kuzmichev, one of these oligarchs, was apprehended in the Saint-Tropez resort on the French Riviera. Law enforcement conducted raids at various locations associated with Kuzmichev, including his residence in Paris and his villa in Saint-Tropez, leading to the seizure of significant amounts of cash and valuable jewelry.

Kuzmichev faces allegations of concealing real estate wealth and undeclared income. In 2012, he purchased a substantial property in Paris for $29 million, which had previously served as the headquarters for the French alcoholic beverage company, Pernod-Ricard.

A co-founder of the Alfa Group, Kuzmichev has been targeted by EU sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February the previous year. As a consequence of these sanctions, two yachts owned by Kuzmichev, valued at over $5.3 million, were impounded by authorities in March 2022. Claiming familial connections to France, the Russian billionaire has initiated an appeal to have the EU sanctions against him lifted, with a decision expected on November 15, 2023.