Court refuses to disclose Platon System agreement text, dismisses claim of Anti-Corruption Foundation
It took the court 3 minutes to look through the text of the concession agreement. The complaint of the lawyers of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was then dismissed.
The Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal dismissed the complaint against the decision of the Arbitration Court of Moscow, which had previously refused to nullify the concession agreement on the Platon toll road payment system, as requested by Alexey Navalny and Ivan Zhdanov. Thus, previous court rulings were upheld, the FBK website reported. At the same time, it took the court about 3 minutes to look through 305 pages of the agreement and make a judgment, the lawyers noted.
At the previous hearing, the judge asked to provide the text of the concession agreement, which had been concluded between Rosavtodor (Federal Road Agency) and the company of Igor Rotenberg and Andrey Shipelov, RT-Invest Transport Systems Limited Liability Company. However, the parties did not provide the text at the same meeting, and the agreement itself was not attached to the case. Hence, the plaintiffs failed to challenge its points.
Previously, courts have considered the case on recognition unlawful agreement without any text.
As a reminder, this issue is about the concession agreement, which was concluded with RT-Invest without competition, for the creation of the Platon toll road payment system. Initially, in 2013, Rosavtodor announced a tender for the works. But in 2014, the Russian government canceled the competition and, at the suggestion of the Rostec head Sergey Chemizov, entrusted RT-Invest with this project. Half of this company belongs to Igor Rotenberg, the other half – to the businessman Andrey Shipelov and Rostec structures.
For some reason, the full text of the agreement is kept secret. It boils down to the fact that RT-Invest collects money from the truck-drivers and transfers them to Rosavtodor. For that, the concession participant receives 10.6 billion rubles per year within a 13-year period, regardless of how much money they collect.
The system started working on November 15, 2015. According to the approved tariffs, truckers have to pay 1.53 rubles per kilometer on federal highways. The plan was to increase the fee up to 3.06 rubles per kilometer from March 1, 2016. However, the duration of reduced rate was extended.
Today, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Nikolay Asaul confirmed that the fee amount would be reviewed. "Once the system is developed, the reduced tariff will be canceled, and we will return to the rate, which is set in the legislation and which attracts investments in the road sector. The point is not to collect a fee just for the sake of it, we want to build a significant amount of traffic objects on this money," Asaul stated.
Once the Platon system was introduced, truck drivers began mass protests across the country. In December 2015, they tried to cut off the Moscow Ring Road, but their plans were thwarted. After that, they started to challenge the decision in courts. As of May 31, 2016, the Constitutional Court found the Platon system legitimate.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).