The Kremlin knows about concerns of foreign businesses amid a criminal case against founder of the Baring Vostok investment fund Michael Calvey, but vows that the Russian authorities’ support for investors is unshakable, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday, TASS reported.
"We really know that business representatives both from the United States and other countries voiced their concerns through various business associations and organizations over Michael Calvey’s case <…>. Each time we assure our trade and economic partners that Russia was, is and remains committed to a key goal of creating the most convenient conditions for foreign businesses and foreign investors in our country. This stance, which was also declared by the Russian president, is unshakable and remains absolutely unchanged," Peskov said.
Peskov commented on the Financial Times report that amid the Calvey case representatives of major US companies could refuse to take part in this June’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
The Kremlin spokesman noted that every year ahead of SPIEF and the Eastern Economic Forum mass media claim that these events could be boycotted. "So far, these reports have not been confirmed. On the contrary, every time we see a great interest among participants of various countries, including from the US, and we expect the same activity this year," Peskov said.
Baring Vostok’s case
Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case into the embezzlement of 2.5 bln rubles ($37.5 mln) from Vostochny Bank on February 13. Michael Calvey is the key defendant in the case. On February 15, the law enforcement agencies arrested Calvey and five others: Vagan Abgaryan, partner at Baring Vostok, Philippe Delpale, an investment partner for the financial industry sector at Baring Vostok, Ivan Zyuzin, Investment Director at Baring Vostok and also General Director of the First Collection Bureau Maxim Vladimirov and Advisor to the Management Board of Norvik Bank, Alexey Kordichev.
According to the investigation, Calvey and his accomplices put together a scheme, where the "First Collection Bureau", under their control, waived its right to a 59.9% stake in a Luxembourg-based company called the International Financial Technology Group (IFTG), to the Vostochny bank to pay it back for a 2.5 billion-ruble debt. Before the deal, IFTG’s shares were valued at 3 bln rubles. However, the investigation is examining another estimate of 600,000 rubles (according to a Cyprus-based company’s valuation). That said, the Central Bank claimed that the price of these shares was close to zero, the investigator noted.