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Putin expects transparent investigation into Calvey’s case

The Kremlin will be keeping a close eye on the investigation

ST. PETERSBURG, June 7. /TASS/. The investigation into the case of the founder of the Baring Vostok private equity firm Michael Calvey should be transparent, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, adding that charges should be dismissed unless they are proved.

"He [Calvey] is charged with embezzling 2.5 bln [rubles], it should be proved by law enforcement bodies, otherwise charges should be withdrawn from him," Putin said.

"We will be keeping a close eye on that. There are generally accepted global legal rules: all are considered innocent, including Mr. Calvey, as long as no guilty verdict is provided by the court. He is considered innocent, and I very much expect all procedures to be conducted … in accordance with the Russian legislation, publicly, transparently, whereas the General Prosecutor’s Office will be closely following that," he said.

Asked what foreign investors should focus on - the statements on inadmissibility of putting pressure on business or on criminal cases against a number of businessmen, Putin emphasized: "They should focus on the current Russian legislation in all their actions." That concerns both the authorities, business, local and foreign," he said.

"I understand what you are talking about, I am concerned about that myself, otherwise I would not be speaking about that at today’s forum. However, everyone should respect the law. That is our position when we say that law enforcement bodies should not interfere in the work of business structures. But that also means that all participants of that process, including business representatives, should abide by laws and should execute them," Putin noted.

Michael Calvey, the founder of the Baring Vostok private-equity firm, was detained and then arrested on February 16 on suspicion of embezzling 2.5 bln rubles ($37.5 mln) from Vostochny Bank. Moscow’s Basmanny Court also arrested five other suspects in the case. Calvey was sent to a pre-trial detention center, but later he was placed under house arrest. According to the investigation, he 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 to the Vostochny bank in order to pay it back for a 2.5 bln-ruble debt. However, law enforcement agencies say the stake was actually worth 600,000 rubles ($9,100).