A Russian billionaire has been detained in France suspected of violating EU sanctions and tax fraud.

In one of the first actions of its kind in France since the Ukraine war began, Alexei Kuzmichev was detained in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera.

Police raided properties in both Saint-Tropez and Paris which are linked to the tycoon, an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers for Mr Kuzmichev were not immediately available for comment.

A co-founder of Russian finance consortium Alfa Group, he was detained on Monday in connection with alleged money laundering, tax evasion and violating international sanctions, French financial prosecutors confirmed to Reuters news agency.

By Tuesday morning no charges had been brought but he was still in custody, they said.

Dozens of police took part in raids on the 61-year-old’s Paris home and his villa in Saint-Tropez, Var, according to French daily¬†Le Monde.