American investment manager detained in Moscow on multi-million-dollar fraud charges
This Thursday, Russian police detained Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of the private equity group Baring Vostok, on fraud charges. On Friday, February 15, prosecutors told a Moscow district court that Calvey and five other suspects stole 2.5 billion rubles ($37.5 million). If convicted, the men could face up to 10 years in prison.
The other suspects in the case are Baring Vostok partners Vagan Abgaryan and Filipp Delpal, investment director Ivan Zyuzin, First Collection Bureau CEO Maxim Vladimirov, and Vostochny Bank former chairman Alexey Kordichev.
In a statement to the press, Baring Vostok said the charges against its staff are related to a commercial dispute over Vostochny Bank, in which the fund is a controlling shareholder. Last September, there was a corporate conflict between the bank’s main shareholders when the board of directors appointed Vyacheslav Arutyunyan as acting president. Baring Vostok’s Cyprus company Evison Holdings responded with a lawsuit, which it withdrew on September 11, after the board agreed to appoint Alexander Nesterenko as acting board chairman. In October, the two groups supposedly resolved a separate dispute about the allocation of seats on the board of directors.
Baring Vostok Capital Partners is one of the oldest and biggest direct investors in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Founded by Michael Calvey in 1994, the equity group has at different times invested in businesses like Yandex, Ozon, Avito, STS Media, Karo, 1C, Tinkoff Bank, and many others.