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Russian dispute which ensnared top U.S. investor Calvey eases

MOSCOW, Oct 28 (Reuters) - A Russian business dispute which ensnared prominent U.S investor Michael Calvey eased on Wednesday, a move that could lead to him being freed from house arrest.

Calvey, founder of private equity group Baring Vostok, was detained along with other fund executives in February 2019 after state investigators accused them of embezzlement.

Calvey, who denied the accusations, is currently due to remain under house arrest until Nov. 13.

His case has rattled Russia’s business community and prompted several prominent officials and businessmen to voice concerns about the way the state deals with commercial disputes and executives caught up in them.

Russia’s Vostochny Bank said in a statement on Wednesday it would receive 2.5 billion roubles from a Baring Vostok portfolio company, First Collection Bureau.

Vostochny, Russia’s 39th biggest bank by assets, has been at the centre of the Calvey dispute after its controlling shareholders -- Baring Vostok and Russian businessman Artyom Avetisyan -- became locked in a battle for control of the bank.

Calvey and the other Baring Vostok executives were accused of embezzling 2.5 billion roubles ($32.25 million), the same amount which Vostochny said on Wednesday it was going to be paid.

“Vostochny Bank and First Collection Bureau reached an agreement, as a result of which the bank will receive 2.5 billion roubles,” Vostochny said.

“After receipt of the money, the bank plans to back out of civil claims, submitted as part of a criminal case,” the bank added, referring to criminal charges against Calvey and his colleagues.

Baring Vostok did not respond to a request for comment.

It was not immediately clear if the payment would help in freeing Wisconsin-born Calvey from house arrest. He has alleged that the case against him and the others was an attempt to pressure them in the dispute over control of Vostochny Bank.

$1 = 77.5300 roubles Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Alexander Marrow Editing by Andrew Osborn

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