Russia indicts US investor for fraud

US investor Michael Calvey, the head of investment company Baring Vostok, detained on fraud charges, attends a court hearing in Moscow’s Basmanny Court on Feb 15, 2019. (AFP pic)

MOSCOW: Russian investigators formally charged US investor Michael Calvey with fraud on Thursday following his controversial arrest, his lawyer said.

Investigators presented him with the indictment on the charge of large-scale fraud as part of an organised group, which can carry up to ten years in prison.

“He has refused to admit his guilt or give any testimony” before consulting with his defense, lawyer Dmitry Kletochkin told Russian news agencies.

Calvey is the founder of the multi-billion-dollar Baring Vostok investment fund. He is one of six people arrested in a probe into the alleged embezzlement of 2.5 billion rubles (US$37.7 million) from the Russian Vostochniy Bank.

Calvey has said in court that the charges against him are being used as an instrument in a shareholder dispute, insisting that he has done nothing wrong.

Several high-profile figures have spoken on behalf of Calvey, with Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov saying the case was a typical corporate dispute and calling his arrest illegal.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday said: “We have no doubt that truth will prevail as a result of the investigation. Nobody but the court can pronounce Michael Calvey innocent,” he said.