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Putin Lashes Out At U.S. At Economic Forum, As Jailed American Investor Calvey Send His Regrets

Updated

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his comments during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted that the United States is seeking to "spread its jurisdiction" worldwide, accusing Washington of risking the eruption of trade wars and real wars.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual conference he uses to seek to burnish Russia's image and lure investment, Putin said on June 7 that the universal globalization model would be undermined if "general international rules are replaced by the laws and administrative and judicial mechanisms of one country or a group of influential states, as -- and I regret saying this -- the United States is doing today, extending its jurisdiction to the whole world."

The three-day conference, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, was shunned by the U.S. ambassador to Russia in protest over the prosecution of Michael Calvey, the American founder of a Moscow-based investment firm, on charges supporters say are groundless.

Putin spoke shortly after a lawyer for Calvey said that the American, who had reportedly asked law enforcement authorities to release him from house arrest temporarily so that he could attend the forum, would not make it "for reasons that are beyond his control."

Calvey expressed regret that he could not attend, thanked the business community "for its remarkable solidarity and support," and expressed concern for four colleagues who are in jail pending trial, a statement said.

In his speech, Putin also accused the United States of using its currency as a tool to pressure other countries.

"It is obvious that international financial organizations must adapt themselves to the ongoing deep changes in the global economy and the role of the U.S. dollar must be revisited because, as the world's reserve currency, it has become an instrument of pressure by the issuing country against the rest of the world," Putin said.

U.S. investor and founder of the Baring Vostok private equity group, Michael Calvey, attends a court hearing in Moscow on April 12.
U.S. investor and founder of the Baring Vostok private equity group, Michael Calvey, attends a court hearing in Moscow on April 12.

With China's Xi standing by his side at a forum panel, Putin lambasted the United States for its actions against Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

"The situation around Huawei, for instance, which is not only being sidelined, but blatantly squeezed out of the global market...is already seen in certain circles as the first technological war of the new digital era," Putin said.

Putin admitted that Russian law enforcement's interference into the operations and activities of businesses in the country is "excessive."

"First of all, it is about the archaism and obvious redundancy of the scale of control and inspection," he said. "It is about the groundless, and sometimes just illegal, meddling of law enforcement organs in the business sector, in companies' activities."

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which opened in the northern Russian city on June 6, drew thousands of attendees looking to cut deals and listen to Kremlin and Russian business and investment pitches.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, TASS, and Interfax
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