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Calvey Associate Reiterates Innocence As Trial Resumes In Moscow

Baring Vostok executive Phillipe Delpal attends a court hearing in Moscow on February 10, 2020.
Baring Vostok executive Phillipe Delpal attends a court hearing in Moscow on February 10, 2020.

Philippe Delpal, a French national and an associate of prominent U.S. investor Michael Calvey, has reiterated his innocence as a high-profile embezzlement trial involving the two men, along with five others, resumed in Moscow.

Delpal told the court on February 24 that accusations against him, Calvey, and five other businessmen over the alleged illegal allocation of loans in 2015 were baseless, and that all financial operations in question had the goal of saving Vostochny Bank.

Last week, Calvey, the founder of the private-equity group Baring Vostok, also proclaimed his innocence, saying he planned to continue investing in Russia after the trial is over, "but everything depends on the end of the process."

The trial of Calvey, Delpal, and five associates -- Russian citizens Vagan Abgaryan, Ivan Zyuzin, Maksim Vladimirov, Aleksei Kordichev, and Aleksandr Tsakunov -- started on February 2, almost two years after their arrest.

The defendants all deny any wrongdoing, saying the charges against them are being used to pressure them in a business dispute over control of Vostochny Bank.

The trial was adjourned until March 3.

Russia's Supreme Court in November 2020 eased the detention terms for the seven businessmen, ruling that they may not leave their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., communicate with other suspects in places other than the courtroom, send or receive mail, or use telephones unless in an emergency.

The case has rattled Russia's business community and prompted several prominent officials and businessmen to voice concerns about the treatment of the executives.

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 2020 to 16 years 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 2020 after a Moscow court found him guilty of assaulting two police officers, a charge that he refused to admit.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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