13:33, 18 July 2019
Many talk about the security officers’ pressure on the business men, that became unprecedented over the recent years. The case of investor Michael Calvey (/tags/persons/kalvi-maykl/) is most often recalled as an example of unjustified attitude of some representatives of security services to entrepreneurs they, by the way, are supposed to protect. The case of the lawyer Kantemir Karamzin is less known to public, however a number of its miraculous aspects allow for concluding that it can irreversibly deteriorate the investment climate in Russia. See the circumstances of the arrest of Kantemir Karamzin in the materials of “Lenta.ru” (/tags/organizations/lenta-ru/).
A disappointing record was set last year (2018). Central Bank (/tags/organizations/tsentralnyy-bank-rossii/) of the country registered (https://www.rbc.ru/economics/13/05/2019/5cd981989a7947252f589b47)reduction of foreign investment into the economy of the country to minimum for the last ten years. The Central Bank analysts associated it with the end of perennial trend when the capital returned into the economy of the country via offshores. “A tend of reduction of inflow of direct foreign investments into the Russian Federation with stabilisation of the volume of direct foreign investments abroad is traced”, – the review reads. In other words, regardless vehement calls of the President to establish the conditions in Russia so that the capitals with Russian origin served for the motherland’s benefit and returned to it a totally opposite picture is seen – our business finances the economies of other countries via offshores.
Mike Calvey (right)
Photo: Sergey Mamontov / RIA Novosti
Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey (right) during the sitting at Basmanny Court in Moscow
The situation with real foreign investments is even worse. This can be indirectly assessed by the fact that the foreign investments into Russian real estate last year also reduced (https://finance.rambler.ru/economics/41345608/? utm_content=rfinance&utm_medium=read_more&utm_source=copylink) by three times compared to pre-crisis 2014. Sanctions are not suitable to explain the reason of investors leaving Russia – it is clear now, and especially to our European partners, that domestic economy have adapted to them and rate of return in many industries is still high, especially compared to other countries of the continent. Then what is it really all about?
The answer to this question could be the result of survey by VCIOM (All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre) (/tags/organizations/vtsiom/), according to which 71% of entrepreneurs consider (https://www.vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2019/07/11/806415-kazhdii-vtoroi- rossiiskii-predprinimatel-gotovitsya-k-hudshemu? fbclid=IwAR3KChpASXOI2pQtdyL01ah0L8xECZZoaqXT918io_GSxNyPSzWb4DAgcFw) the conditions of running business in Russia unfavourable. According to VCIOM analysts the business must concentrate on risks and not on opportunities and this results in narrowing the planning horizon and refusal to play long.
And the head of division for sociological studies of the Centre for Strategic Programmes Mariya Yakusheva adds (https://primechaniya.ru/home/news/iyul-2019/vesti-biznes-v-rossii- samoubijstvo-kazhdyj-vtoroj-rossijskij-predprinimatel-gotovitsya-k-hudshemu/) that during the survey the entrepreneurs kept talking about growing sense of foreboding and uncertainty, the main reasons of the recent events, namely the cases of criminal prosecution of business men and explosive social and political events. “The cases against business men reached high concentration and form the feeling of high personal risks”, – Mariya Makusheva says. This is the reason why the investment rivers turned around.
One might think that the words of the First Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov (/tags/persons/siluanov-anton/) should have been heard, who in his comments in respect of the arrest of Michael Calvey clearly said that the security officers actions impact the investment climate: “Any such actions of security services alert the business men and, surely, do not promote investment climate”, – underlined the main person politically responsible for the development of the country economy. However, later Anton Siluanov called (https://lenta.ru/news/2019/06/11/kalvisiluanov/) “not to make a fetish” of the case on fraud initiated against the founder of Baring Vostok, but at the same time he complained on some “tiredness of this issue”. According to Siluanov, “all spoke about this case” in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), though there are other problems, – fairly noted the First Vice-Prime Minister.
Photo: Sergey Subbotin / RIA Novosti
Leading bankers of the country are not far behind in so far as it concerns the impact of statements. Here, the First Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alfa-Bank (/tags/organizations/alfa-bank/) Oleg Sysuev (/tags/persons/sysuev-oleg/) stated, (https://www.infox.ru/news/283/economy/finance/213243-delo-majkla-kalvi-silno- Otrazitsa-na-investicionnom-klimate-rossii-mnenie) that the prosecution of Calvey is a “typical example” of resolution of corporate problems with administrative methods and this will negatively affect Russian investment climate.
“There are less and less people who wish to invest in Russia”, – concluded Oleg Sysuev and added that it is not just a matter of foreign investors, but about Russian too, who prefer to invest their funds abroad.
There is nothing more to say, but the exodus of capital from Russia from the beginning of the year increased twofold and reached 40 Billion Roubles. This was mentioned in the SPIEF by the Head of Accounts Chamber (/tags/organizations/schetnaya-palata/) of Russia Aleksey Kudrin (/tags/persons/kudrin-aleksey/). He related this trend with criminal prosecution of the founder of Baring Vostok Michael Calvey.
Notwithstanding the fact that well informed head of VTB (/tags/organizations/bank-vtb/) Andrey Kostin (/tags/persons/kostin-andrey/) in early June expressed a (https://lenta.ru/news/2019/06/07/kostin_bloomberg/) hope that “this situation will resolve and Mr Calvey will get back to work”, the investment banker is still under home arrest. Kantemir Karamzin was less lucky – after the arrest the insulin-dependent lawyer is in remand centre (/tags/organizations/fsin/).
According to the member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (/tags/organizations/sovet-po-pravam-cheloveka/), Associate Professor of the Department of Government of the Institute of Social Sciences of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (/tags/organizations/ranhigs/) Yekaterina Shul’man, “remand centre is a big wound of our society, because this very stage of pre-trial detention becomes the main repressive tool. Not the threat of subsequent imprisonment, but this remand centre.”
Photo: Ilya Pitalev / RIA Novosti
“Conditions at remand centre are usually worse than in prisons. This is the place for main jawboning, this is the place for negotiations on taking the business from the security service point of view. All the talks on not placing the people into remand centre for non-violent crimes do not find resonance in the hearts of legislators”, – considers (https://echo.msk.ru/programs/status/2455743-echo/)human rights defender.
Besides diabetes Kantemir Karamzin defending the interest of Canadian entrepreneur Mark Richards (/tags/persons/richards-mark/) suffers from a few dozen other serious deceases. The lawyer is kept in remand centre with no medical treatment, they refuse to treat strong toothache for weeks in order to make him give false evidences. The lawyer himself and his lawyers repeatedly noted in their complaints to the management of the remand centre and human rights defenders.
Kantemir Karamzin is watched as dangerous special criminal: Searches with full undressing and body search are initiated 2-3 times a day. The lawyer is suffering from spinal disc herniation and his relatives have been attempting to pass him orthopedic pillows and mattress for almost two months. Only one pillow of seven reached him. They’ve accepted the mattress in 2 months and now they threaten they’ll take it away for “bad behaviour”. Finally, Karamzin wrote letter to the President Vladimir Putin (/tags/persons/putin-vladimir/), published by (http://www.ng.ru/vision/2019-05-22/6_7578_bribe.html) “Nezavisimaya gazeta(/tags/organizations/nezavisimaya-gazeta/)”.
In his letter Kantemir Karamzin complains about the security officers. According to him, they “are slowly killing me every day with no legal grounds… Unfortunately, I am not a fearless hero and am scared to openly give the names of almighty security officers, but I have no choice.”
Karamzin represents (https://versia.ru/gromkoe-zaderzhanie-yurista-kantemira- karamzina-vse-bolshe-napominaet-istoriyu-magnitskogo) that he was tortured with hunger and sleep, he was not provided with medicine and eye glasses, he was placed into the ward with two jailbirds who were intimidating him with stories on “sweatboxes” if he refuses to cooperate with the authorities, they refused to provide medical care to the person in pre-stroke condition. According to Kantemir Karamzin, he was taken to the remand centre with a large convoy consisting of FSS officers not below a Major.
Photo: Kantemir Karamzin’s profile in VKontakte.
What is the reason of the lawyer Karamzin’s suffering? And here attention should be paid to the main circumstance of Kantemir Karamzin’s case that could drastically worsen Russian investment climate, that is far from good.
Canadian Mark Richards represented by Kantemir Karamzin has been running business in Moscow – horrible dictu – since 1992. In 27 years, the investor had to run from Russia because of fear for his life. But our Russian lawyer Karamzin became his hostage. By the way, as a result of the escape Richards practically lost a quarter of a billion of Swiss Francs he invested in the economy of our country. So, what happened?
Over 20 years Mark Richards has been a business partner to business man Vladimir Kopelev (/tags/persons/kopelev-vladimir/) – close associate to ex-Mayor of Moscow Luzhkov, the owner of the largest in Russian capital construction company DSK-1. In 2010, Kopelev owed Mark Richards CHF241 Million under the Promissory Bond to Kithia Limited. In 2016, Mark Richards decided to quit construction business, but his attempts to return his money resulted in a number of arbitration proceedings. As a result, Kantemir Karamzin won (https://versia.ru/gromkoe-zaderzhanie-yurista- kantemira-karamzina-vse-bolshe-napominaet-istoriyu-magnitskogo) the case at arbitration court according to which ex-Director of DSK-1 Vladimir Kopelev and owner of FSK Lider Vladimir Voronin (/tags/persons/voronin-vladimir/) were supposed to part with 15 billion Roubles.
The details of the case, described by (http://www.ng.ru/vision/2019-05- 22/6_7578_bribe.html) “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” impress. In order not to repay the creditors’ debts Kopelev and Voronin took the enterprise apart and bankrupted it. In June 2016, they moved Kopelev’s assets abroad, transferred the DSK-1 shares to Voronin and legendary plant was split into five limited liability companies. As the lawyer represents, the developers intended to implement new profitable project on the released land.
Thus, Kantemir Karamzin’s fault is that he stopped the collapse of the enterprise through legal action! A lot of money had been lost and administrative resource got involved. Karamzin wrote to the President that in the end of February he was invited to a restaurant and during private talk he was delivered an ultimatum to lose the case at Moscow Arbitration Court, in which the lawyer demanded to prevent Voronin and Kopelev from splitting DSK-1 into five small firms and sell the company in small parts.
Determinative sitting of Moscow Arbitration Court on the case of the Declaration of the Invalidity of the Deal on transferring the shares of AO DSK-1 to Vladimir Voronin in June 2016 before the incurrence of Kopelev’s liabilities to Kithia Limited was scheduled for 10 April. As a result, the lawyer was “received” at the court entrance. It is thought that never before Russian judicial system had such a serious impact. What about investment climate? “Breaking is not making”, – says Russian proverb. Years will be required to earn the investors’ confidence after such events!