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BP Chief Confirms Participation in St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June

© AP Photo / Pat SullivanBP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley
BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley - Sputnik International
HOUSTON (Sputnik) - BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley on Tuesday confirmed he would be attending the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in June.

"Yes, I will definitely be in St. Petersburg, so see you there", Dudley told reporters when asked about his participation. Media reported earlier in the day that US entrepreneurs were considering the possibility of boycotting the St. Petersburg forum in response to the arrest of US investor Michael Calvey.

Calvey, the US founder of Moscow-based Baring Vostok investment group, was detained in Moscow alongside five other suspects in February over suspected complicity in the theft of 2.5 billion rubles (over $38 million) from Russia's Vostochny Bank.

READ MORE: 550 Deals Worth About $38Bln Signed at SPIEF-2018 — Russian Presidential Adviser

On 16 February, Moscow's Basmanny Court ordered Calvey to be held in custody for two months. Calvey insists that he is not guilty and has not committed any crimes.

Preparations for 2018 SPIEF in St. Petersburg - Sputnik International
St. Petersburg International Economic Forum SPIEF
The Financial Times reported earlier on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the situation that a number of US top managers and officials are threatening to skip this year's edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), slated for June, to protest the detention of US citizen and founder of Baring Vostok investment company Michael Calvey.

Since the opening of an investigation into Calvey's case, several US businesses have canceled their previously planned investor visits to Russia or have sought consultation regarding the safety of their US employees staying in Russia, people with knowledge of the discussions told the newspaper.

Andrea Kalan, the spokesperson at the US Embassy in Moscow, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday that the arrest of US investor Michael Calvey undermines efforts to attract investment in Russia and to develop business ties.

READ MORE: Defences of Baring Vostok Founder, Partner of Finance Firm Appeal Their Arrest

"Mr. Calvey’s continued detention undermines efforts to create the stability and transparency needed to attract new investment in Russia’s economy and encourage more robust business interaction", Kalan said.

Michael Calvey, the Baring Vostok investment company’s founder and member of the Vostochny Bank's board of directors - Sputnik International
Moscow Court Detains Baring Vostok Founder on Suspicions of Investment Fraud
However, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that the Kremlin is aware of businesses' concerns because of the case of US investor Michael Calvey, reaffirms that it is committed to creating comfortable conditions for investors. Peskov said reports alleging US businessmen's plans to skip the SPIEF due to the Calvey case had appeared before but had not been confirmed.

SPIEF, held annually in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg, is a major global platform for communication between business representatives and the discussion of crucial economic issues. This year the event will be held 6-8 June.

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