An Oklahoma Native and prominent Russia investor was found guilty of embezzlement in a Moscow court. Michael Calvey's brother, Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey, is speaking out for the first time since the 2019 arrest.
"My brother is appealing the sentence,” Kevin Calvey told News 9. “We look forward to a time soon when he can come home."
The judge sentenced Michael Calvey, a multibillion-dollar foreign investor, to a 5.5-year suspended sentence, requiring that he stay in Russia and report in regularly.
“Michael Calvey is the victim of corruption,” Oklahoma Baptist University International Relations and Russia history professor Dr. Sherri Raney said. “He’s the victim of a politicized judicial system where a wealthy person can interfere with the judicial system.”
Calvey is convicted of embezzling nearly $37 million in a case that arose during a business disagreement. Six of his business associates were also convicted on lesser charges.
“My brother is one of the most ethical and honest international businessmen, well respected in the community and he’s innocent. And virtually everyone outside Russia knows that and even most people in Russia know that” Kevin Calvey said.
“The fact that law-enforcement chose to arrest him on a criminal charge when the business deal was already going through a process of arbitration, makes it even more worrisome,” Raney said.
Earlier this year, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan released a statement near the two-year anniversary of Calvey’s arrest.
“…U.S. citizen Michael Calvey was arrested and criminally charged over what is clearly a private business dispute,” Sullivan wrote. “The criminalization of commercial disputes casts a pall on the business climate and serves as a disincentive to foreign investment in Russia,” Sullivan said.
After serving two months in Russian Prison in 2019, Calvey was placed on house arrest which was loosened ahead of his trial.
“I think that his arrest and this verdict will definitely have a chilling effect on foreign investment in Russia, which they desperately need,” Raney said.