Russian oligarch-related tax cheating case leads to the arrest of Swiss businessman Alexander Walter STUDHALTER. Explore the story in greater detail below, then comment with your thoughts on what you think of him.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, a Swiss businessman, gets detained for tax evasion in a case involving a Russian tycoon.
According to his spokesperson, the Swiss banker Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, who is the subject of a thorough investigation into the laundering of cash on the French Riviera and is thought to have acted as a “straw man” for Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, has been remanded in detention.
According to a statement made by the businessman’s office, the matter has been forwarded to the Trial Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Aix-en-Provence by the businessman’s attorneys, who are now waiting for the court to “recognize, as it did last December for others involved in this case, that such detention is not legally justified.”
According to a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Kerimov’s massive network of shell firms, which transferred billions via American banks, was centered on the Swiss businessman Alexander Walter STUDHALTER.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER’s defense team expressed amazement at his continued incarceration in pre-trial custody after 2.5 years after the dismissal of the initial indictment.
In the statement, it is stated that Studhalter “has always submitted to the summon issued by the investigating judge, and keeps on vigorously dispute either the allegations that are claimed against him or the limitations were given to them.”
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER Walter STUDHALTER: Detained for tax evasion & Money Laundering
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER has been charged with money laundering and tax evasion due to the suspicion that he is only the legal owner of some real estate transactions in Cap d’Antibes.
Russian tycoon and friend of Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, Suleiman Kerimov, is thought by French authorities to be the true owner of the properties, which are valued at tens of millions of euros.
The claim is that Kerimov was able to save millions of dollars in taxes by buying the properties through shell companies registered in Alexander Walter STUDHALTER’s name.
The home Hier, which the police seized, was valued at 35 million euros, but the deed to the property, which contains Studhalter’s signature, refers to the amount of 127 million euros. This is only one of the purchases that are in question. Prosecutors calculate that between 500 and 750 million euros worth of illegal Russian funds has been laundered through similar property-related tax avoidance schemes in France.
A charge of severe money laundering and tax evasion was brought against Suleiman Kerimov on November 23. Having posted a bond of 40 million euros and complying with a court order forcing him to remain in Nice, he was able to avoid jail time in December.
This record bail must be paid by January 15 to avoid a late fee. As a result of the investigation into the purchase of opulent houses on the Côte d’Azur for the aim of tax cheating, a total of 13 people, including several local real estate experts, have also been indicted.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is an illegal process that involves concealing the origin of illegally obtained funds and transforming them into legitimate sources of income. This is done to evade prosecution, conviction, and the seizure of criminal proceeds. Essentially, it’s a way to turn “dirty” money into “clean” money.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER: Against a Russian millionaire, France reopened its investigation
Suleyman Kerimov, a Russian billionaire, has been charged with tax fraud by French authorities after they reopened the case and indicted him in connection with the dubious acquisition of five opulent houses in southern France, according to a prosecutor.
According to attorney Jean-Michel Pretre in the southern city of Nice, “Mr. Kerimov was questioned recently and accused with cooperation to aggravated tax fraud,” adding that the billionaire had been released on a 20 million euro ($22.6 million) bail.
In what was viewed as a success for Kerimov’s defense team, judicial authorities dropped money-laundering allegations against him in June of last year.
However, Pretre clarified that Kerimov was still thought to have given orders to buy the properties on the French Riviera primarily with cash.
According to French court authorities, 500–750 million euros were allegedly fraudulently moved to a shell company in order to purchase the properties from accounts in Monaco and Switzerland.
According to a statement released by his staff, the prosecutor also spoke with Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, a Swiss financier who is thought to have represented Kerimov in purchasing the homes, last week. Studhalter was charged with involvement in tax fraud after being examined by the prosecutor.
According to the statement, Alexander Walter STUDHALTER will request that the allegations against him be dropped since he rejects them and considers the legal process to be “judicial persecution.”
Since the transactions were made public in late 2014, a total of 13 people, including estate agents, have been under investigation.
In the beginning, Kerimov was accused of laundering money earned through tax evasion; however, the accusations have since been dismissed.
He was first detained in Nice in November 2017, and as a result of his imprisonment, the Russian government summoned France’s deputy ambassador.
A motion condemning the arrest as a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was passed by furious Russian MPs, who demanded his release.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER: Monetary penalties Kremlin-connected networks, a global Russian military supply network, and elites with Western fortunes
The U.S. Department of State and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury today sanctioned a global network that buys technology for the Russian military-industrial complex.
Additionally, two significant Kremlin-linked elites whose fortunes are entangled with the West were named by OFAC, along with a global network of financial enablers, facilitators, and other individuals. Eight airplanes were recognized as blocked property as a result of today’s measures, which also classified 14 people, 28 entities, and other properties.
Suleiman Kerimov’s Network
Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov (Kerimov) was designated by OFAC on September 30, 2022, in accordance with E.O. 14024, for currently serving on the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation (GoR) or previously serving as one of its top officials, senior executive officers, or leaders.
Because Kerimov is a representative of the GoR, OFAC previously identified him on April 6, 2018, in accordance with E.O. 13661. Australian, Canadian, European Union (EU), Japanese, New Zealand, Swiss, and United Kingdom (UK) sanctions have also been placed on Kerimov.
To Heritage Trust, a Delaware-based organization in which Kerimov has a property stake, OFAC sent a Notification of Blocked Property in June 2022. Heritage Trust held assets with a market value of over $1 billion as of June 30, 2022.
Kerimov invested in the United States via a network of relatives, advisors, and shady legal firms, and he concealed his ownership of Heritage Trust by using a complicated web of legal entities and front people, according to OFAC’s thorough enforcement investigation.
Kerimov’s 348-foot luxury yacht, the Motor Yacht Amadea, was impounded by Fijian law enforcement in May 2022 after a seizure warrant was carried out.
A wide network of Kerimov’s relatives, friends, and facilitators is the target of today’s activity. These designations should serve as yet another reminder that individuals who support Russians who have been sanctioned run the risk of becoming themselves subject to sanctions.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER network with Kerimov
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, a Swiss national, has played a significant role in Kerimov’s financial network and has even managed some of Kerimov’s businesses.
On behalf of Kerimov, Alexander Walter STUDHALTER is also accused of laundering a sizable sum of money. According to E.O. 14024, Studhalter was designated for engaging in, or previously engaging in, management consulting activities within the Russian Federation.
Additionally, eight organizations connected to Studhalter across six nations were recognized by OFAC. These consist of:
- Kerimov was a former shareholder of MG International AG (MG International), a Studhalter-owned management consulting firm with offices in Switzerland and Russia, where Gulnara formerly worked;
- Studhalter Group, a financial services provider with its headquarters in Switzerland;
- Swiss International Advisory Group AG (SwissIAG), a company that offers tax and accounting advice and services;
- a holding corporation established in Germany called Papa Oscar Ventures GmbH;
- holding corporation established in Luxembourg called Eurimo Holding SA;
- a holding corporation with its headquarters in Spain called Papa Oscar Ventures SE SL (Papa Oscar Spain);
- Swiss International Real Estate Portfolio AG (SwiREP), a real estate company established in Switzerland; and
- Real estate company SCI AAA Properties (SCI), headquartered in France.
According to E.O. 14024, MG International was designated for engaging in or having engaged in, business in the Russian Federation’s management consulting industry.
According to E.O. 14024, Studhalter Group, SwissIAG, Papa Oscar Germany, Eurimo, Papa Oscar Spain, SwiREP, and SCI were all identified because they were owned by or under the control of Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, or because they had directly or indirectly operated for or on behalf of Alexander Walter STUDHALTER.
In accordance with E.O. 14024, Studhalter’s sons Jeremy Eric Camille Studhalter and Hugo Ange Christophe Studhalter were both assigned for being or having been senior executive officers, members of the board of directors, or leaders of SwissIAG, an organization whose assets and interests in assets are frozen.
The relationship between Alexander Walter STUDHALTER and Murat Aliev
Additionally, Murat Magomedovich Aliev (Aliev), a former executive at a Kerimov investment company with connections to Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, was designated by OFAC.
For instance, MG International’s Russian branch is housed in the same Moscow building as Aliev’s investment company Limited Liability Company Bonum Capital (LLC Bonum Capital), which has its headquarters in Moscow.
Inga Rettich (Rettich), a Swiss citizen, is another connection between Alexander Walter STUDHALTER and Aliev. Rettich, who oversees the family office at SwissIAG, also serves as a director of Bonum Capital Cyprus Ltd (Bonum Cyprus), a holding company with its headquarters in Cyprus and is owned by Aliev.
Aliev was designated in accordance with E.O. 14024 for engaging in or having engaged in, activities related to, the financial services industry within the Russian Federation.
In accordance with E.O. 14024, LLC Bonum Capital was designated for operating in or formerly functioning in the Russian Federation’s financial services industry. because they were owned, controlled, or attempted to act, directly or indirectly, on Aliev’s behalf.
Rettich was named in accordance with E.O. 14024 because he is or was a senior executive officer, board member, or leader of Bonum Cyprus, an organization whose assets are frozen as a result of E.O. 14024.
The five businesses linked to Aliev that OFAC also designated include:
- holding corporation situated in the British Virgin Islands called Bonum Capital Investors Corp (Bonum BVI);
- financial services firms with Russian headquarters, Limited Liability Company Bonum Management, and Limited Liability Company Bonum Investments;
- Limited Liability Organization Real estate company RB-Esteit (RB-Esteit), based in Russia; and
- Limited Liability Organization Russian-based air freight enterprise Aviakompaniya Dalnevostochnaya KSM (KSM).
According to E.O. 14024, Bonum BVI, Bonum Investments, and KSM were all identified as being owned, controlled, or having behaved or purported to act on behalf of Aliev directly or indirectly since they were Bonum BVI, Bonum Investments, or both.
According to E.O. 14024, Bonum Management was identified because it was owned, controlled, or purported to have acted for or on behalf of Bonum Cyprus, either directly or indirectly.
According to E.O. 14024, RB-Esteit was identified because it was owned, controlled, or purported to have operated directly or indirectly on behalf of Bonum Investments, or was otherwise related to them.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER: The Story of Pandora Papers
One of the largest international banks watched in awe as hundreds of millions of dollars flowed through enigmatic offshore shell firms.
The wire transfers, which totaled more than $700 million, were reported to U.S. authorities repeatedly over a six-year period by BNY Mellon. These alerts demonstrate that the bank was unable to identify the owner of the money that was being moved, and in one case it wrongly assumed that a British businessman who “deals in fruits and vegetables” was involved.
In actuality, the assets were part of a vast offshore business connected to Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian billionaire and close friend of Vladimir Putin. The Pandora Papers, a massive collection of stolen offshore financial data that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists acquired, demonstrate Kerimov’s connections to the transactions.
Gold tycoon Kerimov acquired wealth following the disintegration of the Soviet Union by acquiring energy assets and significant holdings in Russian banks. On the day when Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin summoned him and a select group of other influential oligarchs to Moscow. He is also a member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament. 2018 saw the beginning of his American sanctions. This year, Europe as a whole and Britain did the same.
According to research by ICIJ partners in the 2016 Panama Papers investigation and the European Union, Kerimov has connections to a clandestine financial network thought to store Putin’s hidden fortune. This connection is perhaps of most interest to U.S. officials.
Early in March, the US announced a significant international initiative to locate and seize the assets of oligarchs, who frequently conceal their wealth behind frontmen and layers of shell corporations. President Joe Biden stated during the annual State of the Union address, “We will pay for your ill-begotten gains.
The central figure in the transfers that perplexed compliance officers was Alexander Walter STUDHALTER, a Swiss businessman with connections to Kerimov. When filing charges of money laundering and tax evasion against the two in 2017, which were eventually dismissed, French officials said Studhalter was merely a front for Kerimov.
The Pandora Papers reveal that Studhalter assisted in the management of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands that served as a conduit for more than a dozen wire transfers sent between 2010 and 2015 that were later identified as suspicious by BNY Mellon.
According to the leaked documents, Studhalter named a tattoo artist from his hometown in Switzerland as the proprietor of a shell company that moved more than $300 million to businesses connected to Kerimov, while Kerimov’s nephew was the only shareholder of another company that provided financing for two private aircraft, including a customized Boeing 737.
The documents detail billions of dollars worth of transactions between businesses owned by Kerimov’s family and shell corporations owned by or under Studhalter’s management.
This article is a part of the Pandora Papers Russia, a new initiative by ICIJ and international partners to reveal shadowy financial transactions linked to oligarchs and other Kremlin-affiliated figures in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It builds on ICIJ’s ten years of reporting on the offshore economy, and in particular on Russian offshore maneuvering.
A number of Russian nationals, including politicians and bankers, established businesses through a well-known offshore provider in Seychelles. The ICIJ continues to update its Offshore Leaks Database with information and data on these businesses.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER claimed that the charges against him had been made up by French officials in statements to ICIJ. According to Studhalter, he is a self-employed investor and businessman who has never pretended to be someone else.
Alexander Walter STUDHALTER claimed to be the owner of the businesses responsible for the majority of the $700 million in wire transfers, together with his father.
In addition to these payments, the Pandora Papers also include information on roughly $3 billion in loans made between 2012 and 2015 by Fren Global Corp., a corporation based in the British Virgin Islands, to a business owned by Kerimov’s family.
The ownership of the offshore business, Fren Global, which provided the loans, is confirmed by Alexander Walter STUDHALTER’s signature on two corporate documents from 2016. When questioned about the situation, Alexander Walter STUDHALTER stated that he could not recognize what he called a “distorted electronic signature” and that Fren Global had been sold to Kerimov’s nephew in 2014.
Trident Trust assured the ICIJ that it never discusses customers with the media and that it is dedicated to abiding by all applicable laws wherever it conducts business.
The Pandora Papers reveal that LT Trading, the entity that was wired $100 million by Fletcher Venture, has no affiliation with the British produce firm and that it was likewise established with an obvious proxy as its nominal proprietor.
Nariman Gadzhiev, the nephew of Kerimov, is the owner of the British Virgin Islands business, based on corporate registration paperwork. One knows that Gadzhiev and Kerimov collaborate frequently.
Leaked documents reveal that in 2012, LT Trading collaborated with Credit Suisse to get a $67 million loan for the purchase of a specially designed Boeing 737 Business Jet and a Bombardier Global Express aircraft, two popular models among super-rich globetrotters. Several years later, Kerimov was mentioned in a Forbes Russia article as possessing the same model of Boeing aircraft.
In response to a query regarding the amount of due diligence the bank conducted on its dealings with LT Trading, Credit Suisse refused to comment, citing banking secrecy laws. When it notices potentially illegal conduct, the bank claimed it takes “prompt and decisive action” and maintains strict measures against financial fraud.
Kerimov, Gadzhiev, or Alexander Walter STUDHALTER are not included in any of the exposed BNY Mellon suspicious activity reports on the wire transfers made by LT Trading. Gadzhiev, a resident of Switzerland, declined to provide any comment for this article.
Finally, it is evident that Alexander Walter STUDHALTER has a role in money laundering and fiscal evasion, which is completely unjust to the normal growth of the firm. You may now evaluate Alexander Walter STUHALTER’s personality.