MOSCOW – Russia’s Investigative Committee has requested that Baring Vostok Capital Partners founder Michael Calvey be moved to house arrest after two months in a Moscow jail in a closely watched case that’s shocked investors.
Calvey’s next hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Moscow, when the Investigative Committee’s petition will be presented, court spokeswoman Yunona Tsareva said. Three other defendants linked to the case, including two Baring Vostok executives, saw their detentions extended by three months in court Wednesday, she said.
The fund welcomed investigators’ motion on Calvey’s detention and said it hoped “the court will give due consideration” to the request. It called the rulings on the other defendants “illegal and unjustified” and said they would be appealed.
The arrest of Calvey, a U.S. citizen who runs one of the biggest private equity funds in Russia, has alarmed foreign investors and prompted a wave of calls from prominent officials and state-company executives for his release. He and several of his colleagues have been held since February on charges of overvaluing assets Baring Vostok contributed to Bank Vostochny, a lender the fund controls. They deny wrongdoing and blame the prosecution on a corporate conflict with the other large shareholders in Vostochny.
The Investigative Committee’s action emerged a day after a Moscow court extended the detention of Philippe Delpal, a Baring Vostok partner, by three months. Later Wednesday, the court ordered another fund partner, Vagan Abgaryan, its investment director, Ivan Zyuzin, and First Collection Bureau head Maxim Vladimirov held until July 14.
Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, said in a statement that he welcomed the Investigation Committee’s request to move Calvey to house arrest while reiterating that other Baring Vostok employees should also have the terms of their detention eased.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said it would consider an appeal by Russia’s business ombudsman, Boris Titov, to soften Calvey’s detention, the Interfax news service reported Tuesday.
While Russian and foreign business representatives have raised concerns about the case, President Vladimir Putin defended the decision to prosecute Calvey at a closed-door meeting in February when he was asked about damage to the investment climate. Putin said investigators’ suspicions that Calvey and his associates had stolen 2.5 billion rubles ($39 million) couldn’t be ignored. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later the president was simply stating facts, not his personal position.