Russian Court Orders Seizure of Baring Vostok’s Stake in Vostochny Bank

A court in Russia’s Far East ordered the seizure of a $150 million stake in Vostochny Bank held by embattled private equity group Baring Vostok at the lender’s own request, Echo Moscow reported on Monday.

Baring Vostok has been in the spotlight since the arrest earlier this year of several of its executives including U.S. investor Michael Calvey. They deny wrongdoing and say the case is being used against them in a corporate dispute over control of Vostochny Bank.

According to Reuters, Vostochny Bank had requested the seizure of more than 334 billion shares held by a firm controlled by Baring Vostok, documents from the arbitration court of Russia’s far eastern Amur region said.

Baring, which ceded a 9.99% stake in Vostochny Bank and lost its status as majority shareholder in June, holds a 41.6% stake in Vostochny.

Vostochny Bank said the seizure of the stake had been necessary to prevent Baring Vostok selling shares in Vostochny before a court decision. Baring Vostok said it would appeal the decision.

The case against Calvey and other Baring Vostok executives has rattled the Russian investment community and soured the business climate in the country.

On Monday, Russia’s minister of economic development Maxim Oreshkin said in an interview with TASS that the case against Baring Vostok private equity firm’s founder Michael Calvey “should be solved as soon as possible”.

Oreshkin said he would not assess the impact that Calvey’s arrest may have on the Russian business climate, saying only that the case “adds color to the global pessimistic moods”.