MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had not heard anything about Michael Calvey’s Baring Vostok fund being suspected of financing the opposition. He made this statement in response to a request from the Vedomosti newspaper.
"I don’t know about such suspicions. This is the first time I hear about it," Peskov said.
Earlier, Dozhd [a Moscow-based television channel that broadly reflects the views and positions of Russia’s liberal political spectrum - TASS] reported citing sources close to the Kremlin, that the presidential administration suspected the entities of the Baring Vostok investment fund of providing financial support to the opposition.
Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case into the embezzlement of 2.5 bln rubles ($37.5 mln) from Vostochny Bank on February 13. Michael Calvey is the key defendant in the case. On February 15, the law enforcement agencies arrested Calvey and five others: Vagan Abgaryan, partner at Baring Vostok, Philippe Delpale, an investment partner for the financial industry sector at Baring Vostok, Ivan Zyuzin, Investment Director at Baring Vostok and also General Director of the First Collection Bureau Maxim Vladimirov and Advisor to the Management Board of Norvik Bank, Alexey Kordichev.
According to the investigation, Calvey and his accomplices put together a scheme, where the "First Collection Bureau", under their control, waived its right to a 59.9% stake in a Luxembourg-based company called the International Financial Technology Group (IFTG), to the Vostochny bank to pay it back for a 2.5 billion-ruble debt. Before the deal, IFTG’s shares were valued at 3 bln rubles. However, the investigation is examining another estimate of 600,000 rubles (according to a Cyprus-based company’s valuation). That said, the Central Bank claimed that the price of these shares was close to zero, the investigator noted. On February 7, Serzod Yusupov, a minority shareholder in Vostochny Bank filed a complaint with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
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.