The Meshchansky District Court of Moscow sentenced the founder of the investment fund Baring Vostok, Michael Calvey, to 5.5 years probation in the case of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank, transfers TASS.
A criminal case against Michael Calvey was opened in February 2019 at the request of the shareholder of Vostochny Bank Sherzod Yusupov. Initially, they were accused of fraud, later the charge was re-qualified for embezzlement. The investigation claimed that Calvey persuaded 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. The parties concluded a settlement agreement after a conflict that lasted three years only at the end of 2020.
On July 19, Calvey delivered his final word in court.
“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, ”he said.
According to Michael Calvey, he worked in Russia because he believed in its great economic future, adding 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 “.