IKEA partner in Chelyabinsk can cheat the region out of its money

The Prosecutor’s Office will investigate this transaction for tax evasion. The human rights activist Evgeny Krotenko has filed a claim in the Prosecutor’s Office.

The activist has doubted the manipulations preceding the transition of the land plot located in Kremenkulsky rural settlement in Sosnovsky district in the developers’ ownership. The thing is that initially those were several plots belonging to the State. GNU “UYNIIPOK” rented them for scientific research and experimental work. In 2007 OOO “Terra” featuring the sole founder Vasily Avgustinovich Kurbatskih purchased those land plots with the cadastral numbers 74:19:1201001:0004 and 74:19:1201001:0005.

In 2012 and 2013 other companies affiliated with Kurbatskih, namely OOO “Sovremennye selskokhozyaystvennye tekhnologii” (Modern agricultural technologies) and OOO “Terra” purchased the first and  the second plots, respectively.

Subsequently, both plots were removed from the cadastral registration, their boundaries and numbers were subject to changes and then on October 5, 2015 they were transferred into the personal ownership of Vasily Kurbatskih. On October 15, 2015 the close-end real estate mutual fund “Terema” registered share ownership (cadastral numbers 74:19:1201001:36 and 74:1201001:19:38).

Later the above mentioned lands were again converted to form new plots with the cadastral numbers: 74:19:1201001:58,  74:19:1201001:59, 74:19:1201001:60, 74:19:1201001:61, 74:19:1201001:62, 74:19:1201001:63, 74:19:1201001:64, 74:19:1201001:65.

On November 11, 2015 the Federal Agency for State Registration in Chelyabinsk region registered the shared ownership for the newly converted plots of two companies: close-end real estate mutual fund “Terema” and OOO “Brokercreditservice” management company.

On December 8, 2015 the land was purchased by “IKEA MOS (Trade and Real estate)” for the construction of Mega and IKEA shopping mall near Chelyabinsk.

A mutual fund is a property complex not forming legal entity, based on the trust management provided by a management company with the purpose of increasing the fund’s assets value. Thus, such a fund is founded on the investors’ (shareholders) money. Each investor owns a certain number of shares.

So why was all those complex transaction with the land plots numbers and boundaries, their transfer from the affiliated with Kurbatskih companies in his personal ownership and then into the mutual fund property? The fact is that the mutual fund is not a legal entity. According to the Russian Tax Code it is not subject to tax payments. Thus, the mutual fund doesn’t have to pay profits tax (the rate in Russia amounts at 20%). This means that the federal and regional budgets didn’t receive 20% of the transaction amount that makes quite a sum.

It is worth noting that «Terema» fund was registered on September 10, 2015, while Kurbatskih transferred the ownership of his plots to the company on October 5, 2015.

«These facts suggests that “Terema” mutual fund was founded with the only purpose of profits tax evasion,» commented Yevgeny Krotenko.

It is worth noting that IKEA is a major international company. Its politics doesn’t approve of corruption, disregard of the law and tax evasion. The company tries not to operate in the countries and regions where these phenomena are common practice. The high corruption rates in Chelyabinsk region made it hard for the local authorities to persuade IKEA to open a shopping mall in the Southern Ural.

And now then they finally managed to do it, the transaction is compromised. We remind our readers that this is not the first case when Krotenko appeals to competent authorities in the connection of the construction  of Mega and IKEA shopping mall. Previously, the application was addressed to the Regional Prosecutor Alexander Kondratyev, the head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the region Anna Kozlova and the Federal Agency for Land Supervision of the State Registration in the Southern Ural. The cause for the complaint was illegal in his view transaction of selling over 286 hectares of agricultural lands around the supposed site of the mall construction to OOO “Orion” at a price of 5.9 million rubles, while the market price amounted at at least 865 million rubles.

OOO “Orion” is now owned by Vasily Kurbatskih, too. He is planning to build one of the most attractive housing estate in Chelyabinsk suburbs in the future Mega and IKEA shopping mall’s vicinities. However, according to Krotenko, the administration of Kremenkulsky rural settlement had illegally sold those lands to OOO “Orion”. In his view, in the territorial planning scheme this section was planned to be turned into “Solnechnaya dolina” (Sunny valley) project. It was mentioned in the Sosnovsky region priority development strategy for 2020. The land was sold for agricultural use, but so far it hasn’t been used for agricultural purposes. According to the state register extract OOO “Orion” isn’t operating in the domain of agriculture. Therefore, by law, the company lacked the right to buy this land, concludes the human rights activist.

In addition, as stated by Krotenko, the cadastral price of OOO “Orion” 286 hectares of farmlands is estimated at almost 30 million rubles. While if the same lands have been sold for the purpose of housing construction, they would have cost at least 865 million rubles. But they were sold at 5.9 million rubles without a tender.

Thus, construction of IKEA in Chelyabinsk region is now facing some problems. Due to the officials’ actions  and eager for fast money Vasily Kurbatskih, the company may lose quite a sum if the proceedings are to be hold at the federal level.

The regional budget didn’t receive over 1 million rubles because of unfair competitive tender procedure and tax evasion. In such case, as a rule the land is divided into smaller parts to be sold at separate auctions. Such measures, according to our calculations, would increase the initial cost of the land by over 50%, which would bring considerable income to the  Chelyabinsk region budget. But in our case, nothing of this was done. The regional officials have let Vasily Kurbatskih to make a fortune on a big project instead of economizing budget funds. In case if the procedure of contesting tenders and transactions is initiated, IKEA construction in Chelyabinsk could be postponed for quite a while. Perhaps the company shouldn’t invest money in the project so far and wait until all the requirements are met.

Photo: U24.ru, RasZp.ru, scandaly.ru, lentachel.ru, inari.ru

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