19 Jul 2021 18:43

Calvey in final statement in court: Positive judgment in my case to draw billions in new investments in Russia

MOSCOW. July 19 (Interfax) - Michael Calvey, an American businessman and founder of the Baring Vostok investment company, has said in his final statement in court that a positive judgement in his criminal case would have an immense impact on the entire Russian business community and draw billions of U.S. dollars in investments in Russia, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"Your honor, I am innocent, and all of my colleagues are also innocent. We have incontrovertible evidence proving our innocence. Your judgement will influence not only me and my colleagues, but also the entire Russian business community. I do hope that your decision will become a symbol of the independence and justice of the Russian judicial system," Calvey said in his final statement at Moscow's Meshchansky District Court on Monday.

"The court's decision to dismiss the charges would be a huge positive signal of the independence of the judiciary and the protection of investors' rights. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to assume that such a positive court judgement would be able to draw billions of dollars in new investments in Russia and create thousands of new jobs," he said.

"We've been accused of a crime that was never committed, from which none of the defendants has derived any profit, and from which nobody has incurred any damage. There is absolutely no evidence proving the charges brought against us. The prosecution has said itself that there is not a single witness who can confirm corpus delicti in our actions in the form of embezzlement through misappropriation. On the contrary, hundreds of documents and testimonies exist which prove our innocence," Calvey said.

"I came to Russia and stayed here because I've loved this country from the very start and believed that Russia has the potential to become one of the leading global investment markets. I've persuaded investors to share my belief in Russia's future and attracted several foreign investment funds to be the first in history oriented toward Russia," he said.

"Even after 2014, when the geopolitical climate worsened and sanctions were imposed on Russia, I've continued defending Russia's image as a country attractive for work and investment. The key reason why our investors are continuing to invest in Russia via Baring Vostok is our reputation, honesty, transparency, and integrity," Calvey said.

"This is why the decision you make in our case will have consequences going far beyond my life and the lives of the other defendants," he said.

As reported earlier, the prosecution asked the court to find the seven defendants in the Baring Vostok case guilty and give them suspended prison sentences. In particular, the prosecution asked the court to give Calvey a suspended sentence of six years in prison.

The defendants have been charged with defrauding Vostochny Bank of 2.5 billion rubles through misappropriation. None of the defendants has admitted any wrongdoing.