By Dmitry Zhdannikov
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, said it was likely to become one of the limited partners of private equity group Baring Vostok, should the firm decide to raise new funds.
U.S. investor Michael Calvey and other executives at the private equity group were detained in February 2019 on charges of embezzlement and placed under house arrest, which upset western investors who have complained for years about the lack of the rule of law in Russia.
Calvey’s house arrest was extended until Feb. 13 earlier this month and Dmitriev has been a vocal critic of the continued detention.
Dmitriev described Baring as a “very reputable firm” in an interview with Reuters in Davos on Wednesday, suggesting the RDIF could continue to work with the company as co-investors.
“We continue to co-invest with Baring Vostok, we’ve done a number of deals recently,” Dmitriev said.
“Actually going forward, we are quite likely to become one of the limited partners of Baring Vostok if they decide to raise new funds. And we’ll be happy to bring our co-investors to co-invest with us in Baring Vostok.”
Baring Vostok told Reuters it was grateful to the RDIF for its long-term cooperation and support.
“We will be happy to welcome the RDIF and other co-investors as limited partners of our new fund as soon as the criminal case against our employees, initiated as part of a commercial dispute, is dismissed, and we can fully focus on what we know best – investing in leading Russian businesses,” a Baring Vostok spokesman said.
The RDIF was set up by the Russian state to co-invest with sovereign wealth and private equity funds in Russian companies.
Calvey and his French colleague Phillipe Delpal deny wrongdoing and say the charges against them are being used to pressure them in a business dispute over control of mid-sized bank Vostochny.
Vostochny Bank filed a new lawsuit against Baring and Calvey for more than 8.8 billion roubles ($142 million) in November.
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Writing by Alexander Marrow and Tom Balmforth; editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Alexandra Hudson)