U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has decided to boycott SPIEF, Russia’s showcase economic forum in St. Petersburg in June in response to the house arrest of American investor Michael Calvey, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson has said, according to Lenta.
Calvey faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on embezzlement charges related to his Baring Vostok private equity fund. He was moved to house arrest last month. The high-profile case has rattled some foreign investors in Russia and stoked talks of a possible U.S. boycott of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) which is attended by President Vladimir Putin.
Huntsman will boycott SPIEF because of Calvey’s prosecution, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Andrea Kalan told the media.
“Mr. Calvey’s continued house arrest and criminal prosecution undermines efforts to create the stability needed to attract new investment and encourage more robust business interaction,” Kalan was quoted as saying.
Calvey denies the charges levelled against him and has said that the case is being used against him in a business dispute.
A Moscow court has ruled to extend Calvey’s house arrest through July 14 and the investigation into Baring Vostok until Aug. 13.