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Kremlin wants to see detained US investor Calvey at Russia’s St. Petersburg Economic Forum

Kremlin wants to see detained US investor Calvey at Russia’s St. Petersburg Economic Forum
Thousands of participants will attend the St. Petersburg Economic Forum this week, including US businessmen, says Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The Russian market is still very attractive despite all the hurdles, he points out.

Talking to RT’s SophieCo, Peskov said that about 15,000 people from 75 countries, and 270 companies from all over the world, will be taking part in the international forum which is to take place on June 6-8.

When asked about US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman’ decision to boycott the forum, he said that “doesn’t mean that it will be boycotted by the representatives of companies, including those from the US.”

The US ambassador explained his decision to boycott SPIEF (St. Petersburg International Economic Forum) as a response to the house arrest of American investor Michael Calvey.

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The founder and managing partner of the Baring Vostok private equity firm, Calvey was detained and jailed on suspicion of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles ($37 million) from the Vostochny Bank. The US investor was later released and placed under house arrest until July 14. The investigation into Baring Vostok was extended until August 13.

According to Peskov, many American businessmen are accredited for SPIEF-2019 and majority of them have confirmed their participation.

“This kind of forum cannot be boycotted; you cannot create a vacuum, because if you create a vacuum instead of certain companies, this vacuum will be filled immediately by companies from some other countries… So they’re all very active and even proactive in participating in the forum,” he said.

Asked if there was a chance for Calvey to attend the forum, Peskov said he didn’t know because he’s not the one who issues such permits.

“That’s a very unfortunate case, we are very sorry about that. Of course, we would like to see Michael among the participants of the forum because he’s been quite an active player in the Russian market for more than 15 years,” the Kremlin spokesman said, adding “We all know him as a very trustworthy businessman who is devoted to the Russian market…”

Calvey, who denies all the charges against him, had earlier asked for court permission to attend SPIEF.

Despite certain problems with the international economic environment, the Russian market is still very attractive, Peskov said. “Just ask the participants, they would say that that’s quite a golden opportunity for them to establish contacts, to continue dialogue with their vis-à-vis in Russia.”

“So, every year we see some parties who are doing their best to blackmail this forum but in the end we see it happening successfully,” he added.

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