Corporate Raider’s Handbook by Mitt Romney
Kremlin critics say the arrest of an American businessman proves Russia is a corrupt country
MOSCOW – The arrest of Baring Vostok investment fund founder Michael Calvey on fraud charges related to a lengthy litigation with the Russian bank Vostochny Express sparks a debate in Russia.
Participants question whether raiding – the Kremlin-backed asset-grabbing and corporate takeover campaign that brings to mind the names of Yukos, RussNeft, Bashneft, Stolichnaya and VKontakte vodka – has become a thing of the past, or, maybe Calvey really committed a crime.
The recent decision by a Moscow court to extend Kalvi’s pre-trial arrest by at least two months is not a good sign for professionals like Alexander Khuruji, who has been tasked by the state to rehabilitate Russia’s image as a safe place for investment..
“From my point of view, what happened completely contradicts the statements of the Russian president, who from all the stands invariably expresses the same point of view: Russia is open to investment, Russia will do everything possible to attract and protect both Russian and foreign investment, “- said Khuruji, a spokesman for the Kremlin ombudsman for the protection of the rights of entrepreneurs,” Voice of America “.
“It’s a shock,” he says. “This undermines all the work that the Agency for Strategic Initiatives is doing. All the work that has been carried out over the past seven to eight years aimed at improving the investment climate. This undermines the credibility of the system as such, [and our entire] team does not sleep at night. “.
Indeed, during his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rather explicit hint of Calvey’s arrest..
“To achieve the ambitious goals facing the country, we need to get rid of everything that restricts freedom and initiative of entrepreneurship,” Putin said. – A conscientious business should not constantly go under the article, constantly feel the risk of criminal or even administrative punishment “.
Putin, who has met with Calvey several times since the American arrived in Russia in the mid-1990s, said he did not know about Calvey’s arrest in advance..
Violent Kremlin critics, including Hermitage Capital co-founder Bill Browder, are extremely skeptical of these claims..
“The arrest of Mike Calvey in Moscow should be the final straw for showing that Russia is a completely corrupt and uninvestable country,” Browder tweeted on Friday. “Of all the people I knew in Moscow, Mike played by the rules, kept his head and never criticized the government.”.
Browder was denied entry to Russia in 2005 after his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky opened an investigation into government misconduct and corruption in response to dubious tax evasion allegations leveled against Hermitage Capital by the Russian Interior Ministry..
Magnitsky died under suspicious circumstances in a Russian prison in 2009.
For Alexis Rodzianko, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, an American who has lived in Moscow for many years, the initial shock of Calvey’s arrest may, ironic as it may sound, open up a long-term opportunity to rethink Russia’s contacts with foreign investors..
“Of course, at the moment it is damaging. Of course, this makes each of us think: how far I am from a prison cell, “- he told the Voice of America..
“But I think this could be a defining problem for the business climate in the country,” he added. “This could be the beginning of a black streak, or it could be a sign that Russia is indeed taking some kind of positive action.”.
Rodzianko, convinced that the charges against Calvey are not legitimate, says that he is personally convinced that the arrest was triggered by a “commercial dispute in the usual sense of the word” and that “the people who organized the arrest did not expect, that he will cause such a resonance “.
When asked if Calvey’s arrest could be politically motivated, he expressed confidence that it was not..