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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Five Russian women briefly detained at the Courchevel ski resort
Five Russian women briefly detained at the Courchevel ski resort last January, accused of being part of a high-class prostitute ring, have won a suit against French police, a Russian daily said Tuesday.

The five who were arrested along with 11 others and Russian metals tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov while on holiday at the resort in the French Alps had demanded police return their valuables seized during the arrest, Kommersant said.

"We have managed to get the women's belongings returned," Sorin Margulis, the lawyer, was quoted as saying by Kommersant. He added the legal request had twice been rejected before going to an appeals court in Lyons, which ruled the money, jewelry and fur coats be returned.

Prokhorov, ranked fifth on Forbes' list of Russian billionaires with wealth estimated at $22.5 billion, also filed a complaint several months ago against his arrest on suspicion of supplying prostitutes to his wealthy friends. The complaint filed with a Lyon court is still pending.

A French newspaper reported on Tuesday that three women also planned to sue police for what they called their unlawful and ungrounded arrest. Their lawyer, Margulis, is to file their complaints with a court today.

In an interview with Dauphine Libere, Margulis said the women could also demand compensation for their arrest, but did not give any figure.

The lawyer dismissed the allegations that his clients had been engaging in prostitution and said they were from "respectable families," studying law and biology at higher educational institutes.

French police suspected the women, who received generous presents, of being part of an international prostitution ring.

"They are Prokhorov's friends, he knew them in Moscow and invited them [to Courchevel]. Some of them had been invited earlier. They are cultured and educated women," the French paper quoted the lawyer as saying.

A Courchevel regular known for his lavish parties, Prokhorov has publicly demanded an apology for his arrest late last year from French authorities.


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