Russia may wrap up the Michael Calvey affair this year according to news reports. This positive development would be a relief for many in Russian business circles who have seen the episode as a blow to the business climate in the Russian Federation.
The famous private equity investor was targeted one year ago in a business dispute regarding Calvey’s investment fund’s stake in the Russian bank Baring Vostok.
It is likely that Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey and his partners will be freed in May after being found guilty by a court and given short prison sentences, reported Russian news outlet The Bell.
The Bell spoke with two members of a group who have requested the Baring Vostok case be reviewed at the highest levels. Both said that Tuesday’s decision is a signal the whole affair will be sorted out in the coming months. One source even provided a timeline. In his opinion, a court will find the defendants guilty in May, but only impose short sentences that they will have already served, meaning they can walk free. An acquaintance of the defendants agreed with this prediction, but said a verdict is unlikely before the end of the year. Neither source thought that the court will backtrack and deem the men not guilty.
February 15 will mark exactly one year since the Baring Vostok case began. The charges followed from a shareholder conflict within Vostochny Bank, 50.01 percent of which was owned by Baring Vostok. It is believed the case was ordered by the fund’s partner in the bank, Artyom Avetisyan, a top manager at the state-owned Agency for Strategic Initiatives known for his close ties to the security services. Avetisyan is also friendly with Putin’s former advisor, Andrei Belousov, who was appointed deputy prime minister last month. Belousov has denied any involvement in the case. Since Calvey’s arrest, Baring Vostok lost its case against Avetisyan and his partners in the Russian courts, and was forced to transfer its shares in Vostochny Bank to Avetisyan.
President Putin’s new push to improved Russia’s reputation in the international business community could be behind the resolution of the case.
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