National Security

Russian oligarch who bought mansion from Trump detained and questioned on corruption charges: report

A Russian billionaire who purchased a mansion from President Trump in 2008 in a business deal that is now being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller was detained Tuesday in Monaco and questioned related to an ongoing corruption probe.

Dmitri Rybolovlev, president of AS Monaco, was detained voluntarily by authorities in Monaco on Tuesday and is under investigation for charges of corruption and influence peddling according to French news service Le Monde.

{mosads}In a statement, Rybolovlev’s lawyers Hervé Temime and Thomas Giaccardi asked that his presumption of innocence be “respected” amid the questioning.

“We regret the breach of confidentiality of the judicial process that this information represents, and we request that the presumption of innocence in relation to Mr Rybolovlev is strictly respected,” they said in an emailed statement to The Hill.

“Furthermore,” they added, “the information that has formed the basis of the case was seized from the mobile phone of Mr Rybolovlev’s lawyer, an action which itself remains the subject of a pending case in the Monaco Court of Cassation.”

Rybolovlev was the purchaser of a Florida mansion from Trump in 2008 for $95 million, a sharp increase from the $41 million Trump had paid for the property just four years earlier. Never living in the mansion, Rybolovlev instead divided the property into three parcels, two of which he has sold so far for a combined $71 million, according to The New York Times.

His purchase of the mansion is one of several Trump business transactions that Bloomberg News reported last year were under investigation by Mueller, who is probing allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election.

In Monaco, Rybolovlev has been under investigation ever since text messages surfaced revealing that his lawyer was regularly in contact with top law enforcement officials in Monaco, enticing them with event tickets and other perks, according to the Times. No charges have yet been filed.

Philippe Narmino, Monaco’s justice minister, resigned last year over the scandal after it was revealed that he had thanked Rybolovlev through the Russian’s attorney for a helicopter trip to Rybolovlev’s ski resort.

Trump and his allies have attacked the special counsel for investigating the president’s business ties, which they have argued are outside the scope of Mueller’s mandate under the Justice Department.

—Updated at 4:15 p.m.

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