Vostochny Bank Sues Baring Vostok Again, Asks for $138mn

Russia’s Vostochny Bank has filed a new lawsuit against private equity group Baring Vostok and U.S. investor Michael Calvey for more than 8.8 billion roubles ($138 million), the state-run RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

The news agency, citing court documents, said the new lawsuit has been filed to a court in Russia’s Far East, the one that had earlier ordered the seizure of a stake in Vostochny Bank held by Baring Vostok.

The Baring Vostok case has been in the spotlight this year as it substantially soured Russia’s fragile business climate. Calvey and other executives at Baring Vostok were detained in February after investigators accused them and others of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles. They are denying any wrongdoing, explaining the case as a shareholders dispute.

On Wednesday, a court in Moscow extended the pre-trial detention for the remaining two partners in Baring Vostok, Ivan Zyuzin and Vagan Abgaryan, who until January worked with Michael Calvey.

The Basmanny district court judge Irina Vyrysheva earlier released Baring Vostok founder Calvey to house arrest along with his French colleague Philippe Delpal.

“By rejecting the appeals by Ivan Zyuzin and Vagan Abgaryan, the Moscow City Court (Mosgorsud) has once again delivered an unfounded and biased decision that contradicts logic and the law: while Michael Calvey, who is accused of organizing a crime, remains under house arrest, his Russian colleagues sit in pre-trial detention without the right to even interact with their families,” Baring Vostok said in an emailed statement.

“Ivan, Vagan and Maksim Vladimirov are effectively being held in isolation and under increasing pressure in order to obtain confessions from them at any cost: the criminal case is falling apart due to the absence of an actual crime, as shown by the expert valuation commissioned by the investigation,” Baring Vostok added. “We remain certain that our colleagues are innocent, and there are no legal grounds for them to be kept in custody.”