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U.S. Investor Michael Calvey Released, Put Under House Arrest In Moscow


U.S. investor Michael Calvey attends a court hearing in Moscow on April 11.

A Moscow court has ordered that U.S. investor Michael Calvey, whose detention stunned the business community in Moscow and clouded the investment climate, be released from pretrial detention and placed under house arrest instead.

The Basmanny district court's April 11 decision came a day after Russia's Investigative Committee called for Calvey's release. Calvey left the court shortly after the ruling.

Kristina Panshina, a spokeswoman for the Federal Penitentiary Service, said that Calvey will be wearing an electronic bracelet while under house arrest.

The court later said the Investigative Committee has asked it to keep Calvey under house arrest until July 14.

Also on April 11, the court released Aleksei Kordichev, the former chief of the Vostochny Bank, and placed him under house arrest, too.

The court said that Kordichev pleaded guilty and testified against two other suspects in the case.

Calvey, 51, founded Moscow-based private-equity firm Baring Vostok in 1994.

He, Kordichev, and four other people were detained in February and charged with financial fraud.

Their arrest and pretrial detention has underscored the dangers of doing business in Russia and deepened Western concerns about the rule of law.

'No Reasons To Be Happy'

Kremlin critics have called for the release of Calvey', who has been confined to the Lefortovo jail in Moscow since shortly after his arrest.

The Kremlin's business ombudsman Boris Titov welcomed the ruling, but added that release on bail would have been much better.

"[Calvey] for many years has persuaded foreign companies to invest in Russia and in that capacity he was almost our only public envoy in the West," Titov said, adding that he will continue to work on getting all charges dropped against Calvey and other people in the case.

Calvey's lawyer Grigory Zhdanov told journalists after his client was transferred to house arrest that his client "has no reasons to be happy while his colleagues remain in detention."

Calvey's business partners -- Frenchman Philippe Delpal, Vagan Abgarian, Ivan Zyuzin, and Maksim Vladimirov -- remain in pretrial detention.

The charges against Calvey and his five associates stem from allegations of embezzlement involving the Vostochny Bank in which Baring Vostok has a controlling stake.

Calvey's arrests shocked the Moscow business community in part because he had avoided political controversy and was considered to be instrumental in helping develop Russian tech companies.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, Dozhd, and Meduza
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