The founder of the investment fund Baring Vostok, American Michael Calvey, accused of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles, spoke in the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow before the sentencing. He said that in difficult times for Russia, he defended its attractiveness for investment.
“Your Honor, during this long process you have heard a lot of testimonies and testimonies from both parties, and they all prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that both I and my colleagues acted exclusively within the framework of the law and exclusively in the interests of the bank and its depositors,” said Michael Calvey, whom quotes RIA Novosti.
Last week, during the debate, the prosecutor called Calvey and the other defendants “business sharks” and asked for suspended sentences for all the defendants in the case (for Calvey, the longest, at 6 years). His lawyer Timofey Gridnev, speaking in the debate, called the accusation absurd.
“The only argument of the prosecution about the criminal group was that my colleagues and I are business sharks. The prosecution has no more arguments. Business sharks are a criminal group. They did not even try to prove anything – neither the role of everyone in the group, nor the interaction, nor the actions performed by that group. And the idea that I am a “shark” is simply absurd; many leading figures of the Russian business community, including German Gref, Kirill Dmitriev, Andrey Kostin, Oleg Tinkoff and many others, spoke publicly about my honesty, ”said Calvi.
According to him, the defendants in the case “are accused of a crime that never happened, for which none of the accused received any benefit and for which no one suffered any damage.” “There is not a single piece of evidence to support the charges against us. The prosecution itself stated that there is not a single witness who has confirmed the presence of corpus delicti in our actions in the form of embezzlement by means of embezzlement. On the contrary, there are hundreds of documents and evidences that prove our innocence, ”the American businessman said.
According to Michael Calvey, he worked in Russia because he believed in its great economic future. “I came to Russia and stayed because from the very beginning I loved this country and believed that Russia has the potential to become one of the world’s leading investment markets. I convinced investors to share my faith in the future of Russia and attracted several of the first-ever foreign investment funds focused on Russia, ”said the defendant. His words leads Interfax.
Calvey added that “even after 2014, when the geopolitical climate deteriorated and sanctions were imposed on Russia,” he “continued to defend Russia’s image as an attractive country for work and investment.”
“Your Honor, I am innocent and all my colleagues are innocent as well. You have indisputable proof of our innocence. Your decision will affect not only me and my colleagues, but the entire Russian business community. I very much hope that your decision will become a symbol of the independence and fairness of Russian justice, ”said Michael Calvey, addressing the judge. Such a decision, the accused added, could attract billions of dollars of investment to Russia and lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs. transfers RBC.
On Monday, July 19, the debate on the case ended – representatives of the state prosecution and defenders of the defendants spoke. The prosecutor said that he considers the guilt of the defendants in the case proven. According to him, they acted as part of an organized group and organized the issuance of deliberately bad loans by Vostochny Bank in favor of the First Collection Bureau. Taking into account the mitigating circumstance – the repayment of the PKB damage in the case – the prosecutor requested suspended sentences for all the defendants. During the debate, the defense of the defendants criticized the prosecutor’s office for the lack of evidence and insisted that the embezzlement charge did not take place, since the loans were repaid, which was not contested in court by the bank’s representative.
Calvey said in his last word that he did not understand how a loan could be classified as a waste, when 100% of the loan funds were used to pay obligations to the broker BCS Cyprus. Having paid off the debt, the bank released the pledged Eurobonds for more than 6 billion rubles.
A criminal case against Michael Calvey and other defendants was initiated in February 2019 at the request of Sherzod Yusupov, a shareholder of Vostochny Bank. Initially, they were accused of fraud, later the charge was re-qualified for embezzlement. The investigation claimed that Calvey convinced the board of directors of Vostochny Bank to cede a loan of 2.5 billion rubles to the First Collection Bureau, which he controls, in exchange for shares in the investment fund IFTG worth 600 million rubles. The money, according to investigators, Calvey and his accomplices appropriated to themselves.
Calvey linked the criminal case against him with a shareholder conflict. Until recently, the main owners of Vostochny were, on the one hand, the Finvision company of businessman Artyom Avetisyan and his minority partners, and on the other, the Baring Vostok investment fund, founded by Michael Calvey in the 1990s. In 2016, the parties pooled their banking assets in Vostochny, but soon Baring had claims to the past transactions of Avetisyan’s business. They, in particular, concerned the practice of buying out shares in companies of entrepreneurs from the Leaders’ Club of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, where Avetisyan heads the New Business direction. Finvision put forward counterclaims, as a result, the disputes were considered in the British and Russian courts and other jurisdictions. After a conflict that lasted three years, the parties concluded a settlement agreement only at the end of 2020.
The head of Sberbank German Gref, the business ombudsman Boris Titov, the general director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, the Chairman of the Russian Council of Direct Investment Funds Anatoly Chubais, the founder of the investment company Russian Funds Sergey Vasiliev, the head “Yandex” Arkady Volozh.