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10 Jun, 2023 08:25

Moscow court reduces sentence of convicted US investor

Michael Calvey was handed a 5.5-year suspended term in Russia in 2021 for embezzlement, but left the country the following year
Moscow court reduces sentence of convicted US investor

US private equity investor Michael Calvey, who was convicted of fraud in Russia two years ago but left the country in 2022, has had his suspended sentence reduced in absentia, Russian media reported on Friday, citing a court statement.

Moscow City Court commuted Calvey’s suspended term from 5.5 to 4.5 years following an appeal hearing. A sentence for Calvey’s French associate Philippe Delpal, convicted on the same charges – who left Russia at the same time as his colleague – was also reduced, from 4.5 to 3.5 years.

The latest court ruling requires both men to attend a criminal inspection, or have their suspended sentences turned into actual prison terms. However, their lawyers claim they are unable to travel to Russia due to visa issues.

Calvey, who founded and led the $3.7-billion investment company Baring Vostok, was arrested along with several of his associates in February 2019 as part of a probe into financial wrongdoing. The executives maintained their innocence and insisted that the case was brought as part of a dispute with rivals.

After spending nearly two years under house arrest, Calvey was convicted of fraud in August 2021 and handed a 5.5-year suspended sentence, after a judge found that the US businessman and his colleagues, including Delpal, had conspired to illegally receive tens of millions of dollars.

Travel restrictions on both Calvey and Delpal were lifted by an appeals court in January 2022, allowing them to leave the country.

The prosecutor in the case argued on Friday that the court had been too lenient with them, and suggested that the investors should come back to Russia and spend the rest of their terms doing “charitable work and community service,” the business newspaper Kommersant wrote.

Baring Vostok was once considered the largest independent private equity firm focused on investments in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. It directly invested in a wide range of industries including oil and gas, consumer products, media and technology, telecommunications, and financial services.

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