Russian Prosecutors Seek Suspended Sentence for U.S. Investor Michael Calvey

Russian prosecutors on Thursday asked for a six-year suspended sentence for prominent American investor Michael Calvey, who’s been battling fraud charges that followed a dispute with a local business partner.

Calvey, who has warned of the damage to Russia’s investment climate from his trial, called on the court to throw out the “totally baseless” charges in a statement he read outside the tribunal. He accused prosecutors of willfully ignoring evidence proving the innocence of the defendants.

One of the most successful and longest-standing foreign private equity investors in Russia, Calvey was detained in February 2019 along with several colleagues in a case that shocked the investment community and prompted many top Russian business executives and officials to come to his defense. U.S. President Joe Biden raised the case in a summit meeting last month with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Russian Prosecutors Seek Suspended Sentence for U.S. Investor Michael Calvey

Calvey and the other defendants denied charges of defrauding Vostochny Bank, a lender then controlled by Calvey’s Baring Vostok Capital Partners, blaming the accusations on a business dispute with their Russian partners in Vostochny. Those investors denied the allegations.

Calvey was later released to house arrest following an outcry over his imprisonment. In November last year, the Supreme Court freed him and the others from home confinement after the private equity firm he founded reached a deal to settle a civil suit related to the criminal case.

The prosecutors on Thursday also asked for a five-year suspended sentence for another foreign executive at the fund, French citizen Philippe Delpal.

Calvey is due to make his closing statement to the court on Friday. Sentencing is expected as soon as next week.

His lawyer, Timofei Gridnev, said that while the defendants won’t be imprisoned if the court finds them guilty and imposes a suspended sentence, they’ll run the risk of having to serve the time if they are later convicted of another crime during the probation period.

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