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Russian official calls US investor’s detention ’emergency for economy’

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Accounts Chamber Chairman Alexei Kudrin. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The chairman of Russia’s parliamentary body of financial control has called the detention of a prominent American investment-fund manager who is accused of large-scale fraud in Russia an “emergency situation.”

Aleksei Kudrin, the chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, wrote on Twitter on February 18 that the arrest of Michael Calvey, the head of the Baring Vostok investment company, had been “obviously” made “against the presidential order not to arrest on economic charges,” referring to amendments to the Criminal Code initiated by President Vladimir Putin last year that mitigated punishments for economic crimes.

“I consider this specific situation as an emergency for the economy,” Kudrin wrote.

Kudrin also wrote that “respected people asked me to vouch” for Calvey, adding that he did not do that yet.

Calvey’s arrest on February 14 sent shock waves through Western business circles.

He was detained in Moscow along with three other Baring Vostok employees, former Vostochny Bank director Aleksei Kordichev, and Maksim Vladimirov, the head of debt-collecting agency PKB. All six defendants have now been remanded in custody.

Calvey denies any wrongdoing.

Kudrin’s Twitter statement came hours after Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov expressed concerns over Calvey’s pretrial arrest, saying that Calvey’s incarceration was “obviously illegal” as the case against him stems from a business dispute.

Founded in 1994, Baring Vostok is one of the largest private-equity firms in Russia and the former Soviet Union, according to the firm’s website. It manages more than $3.7 billion in assets. It is particularly active in the technology sector and owns a stake in the Yandex search engine.

Before founding Baring Vostok, Calvey worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Salomon Brothers. He is a member of the board of directors of the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.