Calvey Detention Ruining Russian Investment Climate, Says AmCham Russia Head

The jailing of prominent American fund manager Michael Calvey last month has ruined the investment climate in Russia, the head of AmCham Russia, a major U.S. business group told Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, according to Vedomosti.

Alexis Rodzianko, the head of AmCham Russia, told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the case of Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok Capital Partners, is likely to overshadow U.S. participation at the June St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

At the start of the meeting Tuesday, Lavrov said Russia was hoping for “active participation” at the forum from U.S. business at the SPIEF, the Kremlin’s annual investor showcase.

AmCham discussed Calvey’s case with Lavrov, Rodzianko said, noting that officials have publicly endorsed the position that business disputes should be heard in civil, not criminal courts.

“It seems that we have the same view on this issue with most of the Russian government and even with the president,” he said.

“As long as the question of Baring Vostok isn’t resolved, U.S. Ambassador John Huntsman won’t encourage participation actively,” Rodzianko said. “This can influence the level of representation but not the numbers of people who attend.”

Calvey denies the accusations of fraud, saying the case is the result of a conflict with other shareholders at a bank his fund owns a stake in. The Kremlin’s business ombudsman has backed that position, calling the jailing “illegal”.