Сriminal case against Serpukhov district Head filed due to sale of land plots at hundred-times cut price
Center company, which acquired four land parcels, subsequently resold them.
A criminal case against the Head of Serpukhov district of the Moscow region, Alexander Shestun, was initiated because of the sale of four plots of land by the administration in 2010 at a hundred-times cut-price, RBC reports. Shestun is charged with Exceeding Official Powers with the infliction of grave consequences (part 3 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
According to the case papers, in September 2008, by his resolution, the Head of the district endorsed a project on lot lines in the village of Borisovo. This became known to spokespeople for Center LLC. Investigators believe the entrepreneurs were well aware that, under the Land Code that was in force until 2015, they would be eligible to acquire title to land at a lower tax rate if there were buildings on the plots.
In August 2009, Center representatives applied to the administration of Serpukhov district with a request to provide sites with a total area of 10.3 hectares for 3-year lease to erect a shopping center. The investigation believes that the applicants "did not have the resources" to build the shopping center and did not intend to construct it. Nevertheless, Shestun signed an order to provide the company with four sites for lease. The lease agreements were concluded shortly afterward, and then the Serpukhov district Head signed resolutions to issue permits for the construction of the first part of houses for watchmen on these plots. The area of each house was 7 square meters. The permits for the construction were signed by Shestun’s Deputy Alexander Pirkovsky.
In May 2010, four houses for guards were built on the land allocated to Center. In September, the Serpukhov Department of the Federal Service for State Registration registered the right of Center LLC to own the houses. In December 2010, Shestun had a one-day vacation. On the day of vacation, the General Director of Center, Sergey Samsonov and acting Head of the district Sergey Sokolov signed agreements to terminate the previously concluded lease agreements. Then Sokolov signed decrees on granting the plots to the company at a favorable cost.
Four purchase and sale agreements were concluded between the administration of Serpukhov district and Center. According to these documents, the company purchased four sites for 628.8 thousand rubles ($9.8 thousand). While the cadastral value of the plots is 62.8 million rubles ($979.2 thousand), according to the case materials. The investigators note that the shopping center was never built; there were no grounds for purchasing land plots at preferential cost. It is reported that Center subsequently resold the land. The investigation estimates the damage to the budget at 62.8 million rubles ($979.2 thousand).
During the interrogation, Shestun refused to admit his guilt. He told the investigators that he "could not control the entire paperwork," since there were 5000 employees subordinate to him. The Head of the district also stated that in 2008, Center company changed the concept of the construction plan because of the financial crisis and instead of a large shopping center decided to build a smaller one. According to Shestun, at present the plots in the village of Borisovo house small warehouse stores with an area of 2-3 thousand square meters, as well as the necessary infrastructure: boiler room, engineering communications of the road. He said that most of the land was owned by Center and used in accordance with the purposes it had been allocated for. He underscored that he had not forced his Deputies Pirkovsky and Sokolov to sign permits for land allocation and construction.
RBC remarks that back in August 2011, the prosecutor's office of Serpukhov protested the decisions to grant the land ownership to Center. Representatives of the district administration rejected them. The prosecutor's office insisted on violations, but in October 2014 Rail Shaydullin, the investigator for priority cases of the First Investigative Department of the Second Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) for the Moscow region, refused to open a criminal case because of the absence of corpus delicti. In November of the same year, the prosecutor's office forwarded submissions on the elimination of violations of the law to the administration. Acting Head of the district Oleg Osip replied that there were no violations in the actions of the administration.
According to Shestun, in 2014, the administration of Serpukhov district appealed to the Arbitration Court of the Moscow region with a claim to recognize the contracts on the purchase and sale of plots in Borisovo illegal and return them to the district’s ownership, but the court refused to satisfy the claim. "Thus, I reacted to the submissions of the prosecutor and took measures to return the land," - said the district Head. The materials of the case say that the district administration organized "consideration of the issues of legality of alienation of land in the Arbitration Court of the Moscow region." The Deputy Head of the district administration, Irina Filatova, said in her testimony that they had gone to court to stop the dispute with the prosecutor's office rather than to return the plots.
In May 2018, Yury Karapetyan, deputy prosecutor of the Moscow region, signed a resolution to find the decision to refuse to open a criminal case, taken by the First Investigative Department for Investigating Priority Cases of the Main Investigative Directorate of the ICR for the Moscow Region, groundless. On May 23, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Viktor Grin turned to Deputy Chairman of the ICR Igor Krasnov with a request to investigate the theft of land in Serpukhov district. June 9, 2018, Deputy Head of the ICR’s Main Investigative Directorate (MID) Valery Alyshev compiled a report on the detection of evidence of a crime in the actions of the district administration. The criminal case against Alexander Shestun was filed on June 13 by Head of the ICR’s MID Eduard Kaburneyev. Kaburneyev signed the ruling to initiate the case at 2 am. Four hours later, FSB operatives arrived in the house of Shestun with searches. On June 14, the court arrested the Head of Serpukhov district for two months.