Agreement in Russia in the affair of French banker Philippe Delpal

Posted on Oct 29, 2020 at 1:44 p.m.Updated Oct 29, 2020 4:26 PM

It was perhaps the beginning of the outcome of a case perceived as a symbol of the deteriorating climate for Westerners doing business in Russia, and which had caused an imbroglio between Paris and Moscow.

After a year and eight months of legal action, Baring Vostok relented. The investment fund co-managed by Frenchman Philippe Delpal signed an amicable agreement on Wednesday with his former partner.

Baring Vostok will pay 2.5 billion rubles (some 28 million euros) to his ex-ally Artem Avetisyan who, to prevail in their trade dispute, is suspected of having brought this conflict in the form of a settlement to criminal law. accounts. He has de facto taken control of their joint bank, Vostochny Express.

Unusual legal proceedings

The agreement ends civil proceedings, but not criminal ones. The prosecutor announced hours before publication that the case will be tried, and the trial could start as early as the end of November. The most optimistic in Moscow believe that the agreement should speed up the legal process and announce a quick release for Michael Calvey, the American founder of the fund.

With the six other defendants, including Philippe Delpal renowned banker in Moscow in charge of Baring Vostok’s financial services, Michael Calvey was arrested on February 14, 2019. Since then, they have been imprisoned, in pre-trial detention and then under strict house arrest (no outdoor walk, very limited visits, no Internet…).

These pursuits had cast a chill between Paris and Moscow. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had denounced ” a thorn »Affecting Franco-Russian confidence. ” An inadmissible case », Was indignant the Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire.

Critics by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Bruno Le Maire

In Moscow, several liberal personalities had publicly defended Baring Vostok, including the former Minister of Finance Alexeï Kudrin, the CEO of the main bank Sberbank German Gref, the president of the employers Alexandre Chokhine or the director of the sovereign fund Kirill Dmitriev .

For Baring Vostok, this deal tastes bitterly of defeat. In court, during some thirty preliminary hearings, Philippe Delpal and his colleagues have never ceased to demonstrate ” absurdity “And” lies Of the charges. Baring Vostok has been overtaken by what is often the daily life of companies in Russia: one shareholder gets rid of another by putting him in prison.

In order to bail out its Vostochny Express bank, the fund had joined forces with controversial banker Artem Avetisyan. He felt aggrieved during the recapitalization. Before an arbitration in London promising to be unfavorable, he is suspected of having wanted to settle his criminal dispute through high-ranking contacts in the structures of law enforcement and in a not very independent judicial system. Until then, no Western businessman had been arrested in this type of settling of accounts.

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