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Russia cancels house arrest of US investor Calvey, other suspects in embezzlement case

Michael Calvey (Олег Яковлев / РБК/WikiCommons)

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

Russia’s Supreme Court has eased the detention terms for U.S. investor Michael Calvey and six others from house arrest to a restriction on “certain activities.”

The court ruled on November 12 that the the seven businessmen, accused of embezzlement may not change their permanent addresses, leave their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., visit financial institutions involved with the case, communicate with other suspects in places other than the courtroom, send or receive mail, or use telephones unless it’s an emergency.

The restrictions will last until at least January 13, 2021.

Calvey and several other executives and employees of the Russian-based private-equity group Baring Vostok, including French national Philippe Delpal, were detained in Moscow in February 2019 and charged with financial fraud.

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They all deny any wrongdoing and say the case is being used against them in a corporate dispute over the control of a Russian bank. Calvey was released under house arrest in April 2019.

The arrests of Calvey and his associates stunned many Western investors and drew complaints from high-level Russian business leaders and government officials, who questioned the motivation of the courts and prosecutors.

Baring Vostok is one of the largest and oldest private-equity firms operating in Russia. It was founded in the early 1990s and manages more than $3.7 billion in assets. The company was an early major investor in Yandex, Russia’s dominant search engine.

Calvey is one of three Americans currently held in Russia on charges supporters say are groundless. Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was sentenced in June to 16 years in prison on espionage charges that he has vehemently rejected.

Another former U.S. Marine, Trevor Reed, was sentenced to nine years in prison in late July after a Moscow court found him guilty of assaulting two police officers, a charge that he refused to admit.