Kremlin on Baring Vostok founder’s arrest: Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

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MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Founder of the Baring Vostok equity firm, Michael Calvey, who was detained on February 16 on suspicion of fraud, cannot be considered guilty on any charges until a court has handed down a verdict, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

“We know that law enforcement agencies have questions for Michael Calvey, and we know that the court decided to detain him. Right now, we can say that he cannot be considered guilty on any charges, because there was no legal trial and he can only be convicted by a court’s verdict,” the spokesman emphasized.

When asked if President Vladimir Putin discussed the case with anyone, in particular Russian businessmen, who said they were ready to vouch for Calvey, Peskov said: “No, this situation has nothing to do and should not have nothing to do with the agenda of the head of the state. This issue concerns the investigative agencies first and foremost. It may also partially concern the fiscal authorities since this is a really large investor in our economy.”

Peskov stayed muted on how the court’s decision regarding Calvey complies with Putin’s earlier statement that the authorities should choose alternative measures to arrest with regard to the businessmen under investigation.

“I cannot comment on the court’s decision in any way,” he stressed.

According to him, the Kremlin did not know when the decision to detain Calvey was made, because this ruling “was made not inside the administration, but within special departments, and the president was informed about it according to the established procedure after reports in the media were published.”

On a similar note, Peskov stressed that it would be incorrect to compare Calvey’s case with the detention of Rauf Arashukov, a senator from Karachay-Cherkessia, who is facing charges of ordering two murders and organizing a criminal gang. The Kremlin official said that in Calvey’s case, the court is dealing with a foreign investor and a citizen of another country.

Calvey’s arrest

On February 16, Moscow’s Basmanny Court ruled to arrest the founder of Baring Vostok and co-owner of Vostochny Bank Michael Calvey for two months on suspicion of embezzling 2.5 bln rubles ($37.5 mln). That said, Calvey’s lawyers are going to challenge the ruling.

Baring Vostok is one of the largest private equity firms focusing on Russia and the CIS with $3.7 bln in capital. Since 1994, the fund has poured more than $2.4 bln of investments into 70 projects in the areas of financial services, oil and gas, telecommunications and media, and into the consumer sector.

Baring Vostok’s projects include CTC Media, Yandex, Avito, Ozon, ER-Telecom, 1C, and Novomet.

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