UPDATE 1-Russia sentences US investor Calvey to 5.5 years suspended prison sentence
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By Lev Sergeev and Alexander Marrow
MOSCOW, Aug.6 (Reuters) – A Russian court on Friday sentenced US investor Michael Calvey to a 5.5-year suspended sentence for embezzlement, a day after convicting him in a shocking case the Russian business community.
Calvey, the founder of Russia-focused private equity group Baring Vostok, was arrested along with other executives in early 2019 on charges of embezzlement linked to midsize lender Vostochny. He and the leaders deny the charges.
“The court, unfortunately, did not understand or could not understand the substance of the case with no victim, no damage and no beneficiary,” Calvey told reporters outside the court after the end of the hearing of more than 12 hours.
Calvey will not be allowed to change his permanent place of residence over the next five years without notifying Russian prison authorities, according to the verdict.
“Compared to most cases, receiving a conditional sentence is already almost a victory but, on the other hand, it is simply outrageous to be convicted of a crime that never took place,” he said. Calvey said.
The court sentenced the French national Philippe Delpal, partner of the fund, to a suspended 4.5-year sentence.
“Our colleagues are innocent, and both the criminal case and the court’s verdict are baseless,” Baring Vostok said of the verdict in a statement.
The case prompted several prominent officials and businessmen to voice concerns over the state’s handling of trade disputes and executives have been trapped there.
Calvey told a court last month that an innocent verdict in his case would trigger billions of dollars in foreign investment and help create thousands of new jobs.
The public prosecutor has requested a six-year suspended prison sentence on a charge of embezzlement of 2.5 billion rubles ($ 34.04 million).
Initially placed in pre-trial detention and then under house arrest, Calvey and his colleagues saw their restrictions relax in November, a decision hailed at the time by the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund as an important signal to the entire investment community.
Sovcombank, Russia’s third-largest private bank and among the country’s top 10 by assets, agreed to buy Vostochny Bank, the small lender at the heart of the dispute, in March, but did not disclose the financial terms of the dispute. the agreement.
The business dispute between Vostochny’s main shareholders – Baring Vostok and Finvision of businessman Artem Avetisyan – was settled in October.
Baring Vostok has invested more than $ 2.8 billion in projects in Russia since 1994, including internet giant Yandex, online banking Tinkoff and e-commerce company Ozon, which got off to a successful start in Nasdaq at the end of last year. ($ 1 = 73.4358 rubles) (Reporting by Lev Sergeev, Alexander Marrow and Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)