Former Ufa Vice-Mayor to stand trial for land hustle totaling 1 bln rubles

Former Ufa Vice-Mayor to stand trial for land hustle totaling 1 bln rubles
Vladislav Nikitin Photo: Dmitry Kolpakov / Kommersant

Vladislav Nikitin illegally leased out 170 hectares of land.

The Russian Investigative Committee in the Republic of Bashkortostan has taken to court a criminal case against the former First Deputy Head of Ufa Administration Vladislav Nikitin. He stands trial for the alienation of the federal land totaling to about one billion rubles. The 44-year-old ex-official is accused under part 3 of art. 285 of the Criminal Code (Abuse of Official Powers).

In 2011, Nikitin, who was responsible for land issues in Ufa, organized a transfer of the land plot of 170 hectares (formerly allocated for the airfield and DOSAAF facilities) into municipal ownership. This was done through a Municipal Unitary Enterprise, controlled by the Mayor's Office — Tsentr Nedvizhimosti (Center for Real Estate), which had no right to do that, as the airfields lands are on federal balance sheet. After that, in the course of trading, the object was alienated for 94 million rubles in favor of the company that belonged to Nikitin's sister. The company planned to then build a residential complex on this land plot. However, the organization in control of the official's sister ceded the land plot to an affiliated company Direktsiya Program Razvitiya Ufy (Management for Ufa Development Programs), where Vladislav Nikitin himself had a stake. Investigators estimated that as a result, the Russian budget lost nearly 897 million rubles.

Up to this very moment, the question of ownership of the land plot, which was the one that initially drew the attention of investigators, has still been subject to arbitration between the Federal Property Management Agency and the city administration. The land, which is still leased by Management for Ufa Development Programs, has been arrested.

It is worth noting that Nikitin has been arguing for three years with the city authorities in an attempt to obtain their permission for the construction of several facilities, including the Yu-Lai residential complex. The companies controlled by Nikitin's family started to build houses before receiving permissions to do so. Now the authorities refuse to execute documents retroactively. The houses have hundreds of real estate investors.

However, Nikitin denies his guilt, claiming that the charges were brought against him for the purpose of coercion. The official also clashed with the authorities while working in the civil service as the Vice-Mayor.

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