The Kremlin on Monday said the arrest of a major US investor on fraud charges should “not affect the investment climate” in Russia.
A Moscow court at the weekend placed Michael Calvey, founder of the multi-billion-dollar investment fund Baring Vostok Capital Partners (BVCP), in custody until at least April 13.
Calvey and five others are awaiting trial on charges they embezzled 2.5 billion rubles ($37.7 million). He says the charges have been fabricated for use in a shareholder battle.
“We are very closely following developments in the situation and we hope that this will not at all affect — and should not affect — the investment climate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“Of course, we have been well aware of Michael’s investment activities in the Russian market over many years,” Peskov told journalists, declining to comment on the specifics of the case.
Authorities detained four Baring Vostok employees on Friday, including French national Phillipe Delpal.
Two other suspects include a former fund employee and someone at another firm mentioned in the probe. All six are now under pre-trial arrest.
In a statement Saturday, Baring Vostok said the claims made against its employees “have no merit”.
The case has drawn comparisons to other high-profile probes against foreign investors in Russia, notably one against Bill Browder and the Hermitage Capital fund.
Calvey argued in court that the probe is a bid to exert pressure on him amid a shareholder conflict within Vostochniy Bank, which he is trying to resolve in a London arbitration court.
The charges against him are intended to “pressure Baring Vostok to drop its arbitration claims in London or to obstruct the new share emission of Vostochniy Bank,” the Baring Vostok statement said.
Investigators say that in 2017 a firm controlled by Calvey owed 2.5 billion rubles to Vostochniy Bank and paid the debt with a 59.9 percent stake in the Luxembourg company International Financial Technology Group (IFTG), which was valued at three billion rubles.
The investigators allege that IFTG’s real value was only 600,000 rubles.