The mayors of Ufa will have a high degree of probability to return 113 million rubles to the owner of the Russian Mega shopping centers (includes IKEA stores) - Ingka Senters Rus Property A, a company. debt. It arose as a result of the fact that in 2015-2016 the retailer overpaid the rent for the land plots in the city budget, where he carried out landscaping. An attempt to negotiate with the Ufa authorities outside the court failed: the tenant was ready to forgive interest, but demanded that the bulk of the debt be paid within a week. The city hall did not agree to this. The collection amount is comparable with the annual budget for the maintenance of municipal roads.
The Land and Property Relations Department of the Ufa City Hall lost two instances of the arbitration court to the owner of the Mega shopping centers (includes IKEA stores) - Ingka Centerers Rus Property A LLC (controlled by the Stichting INGKA Foundation, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad). In September, the Arbitration Court of Bashkiria, and on December 19 the 18th Arbitration Court of Appeal ordered the city hall to pay the retailer 113.2 million rubles. debt arising from overpayments in 2015-2016 for the rental of nine land plots with an area of 27 hectares. The main debt of the city hall in the amount of 97.3 million rubles was included in the amount of the recovery. and 15.9 million rubles. interest on borrowed money.
As follows from the case file, Moscow LLC Mos (trade and real estate) (affiliated with the Stichting INGKA Foundation; was the first plaintiff in this case, and then transferred the rights to Ingka senters rus property A) in October 2014 rented from the Ufa administration plots for landscaping near the shopping center "Mega". The retailer pledged to build access roads, a flood dam, power lines and other infrastructure on them. The contract of the parties was concluded until March 2015 and provided for a fixed rent in the amount of 2.5 million rubles. per year for all nine sites. However, the tenant continued to pay rent until November 2016, when the contract expired. According to Kommersant’s information, this happened because the retailer’s constructed objects were received slowly and with complaints. As a result, they, together with the plots, were transferred to the municipality.
Only in June 2018 did the parties sign an agreement to terminate the agreements, where they agreed that they would be declared invalid from January-February 2017. In October 2017, the parties verified the settlements and signed acts. It was written in them that Mos (trade and real estate) overpaid the administration for the lease of 97.3 million rubles. The demands for a refund and a pretrial claim at the city hall were ignored, it follows from the case file.
• Ingka Senters Rus Property A LLC was established in Moscow in September 2017 with an authorized capital of 400 million rubles. The company operates IKEA and Mega shopping centers in Russia. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company is owned by the Dutch company Funprin Holding VI B.V., and the parent organization is the Netherlands Stichting INGKA Foundation. In 2018, with revenue of 12.3 billion rubles. The net profit of Ingka Senters Rus Property A amounted to 2.17 billion rubles.
In court, a representative of the Land and Property Relations Department of the Ufa Mayor's Office requested that the lawsuit be refused, as the tenant had missed the statute of limitations. He also said that the parties were discussing the option of a settlement, but did not agree: the plaintiff agreed to refuse interest on the condition that the principal was paid within five days.
Satisfying the lawsuit, the Arbitration Court of Bashkiria recognized that the fact of the debt is confirmed by the signed acts of reconciliation of settlements. The limitation period, the court noted, is calculated from the moment of signing the acts, that is, from October 2017.
In the appeal, the land and property relations department, as well as the administration's financial department, tried to insist that the statute of limitations had expired in March 2016 - a year after the expiration of the lease agreements for the land plots. In addition, a spokesman for the city hall said the tenant paid voluntarily on expired contracts. As for the acts of reconciliation of settlements, then, as the lawyers of the City Hall said in court, they were signed as a result of "technical flaws in the program." The Court of Appeal found this argument inconclusive. Reconciliation acts signed by management officials, sealed with the seals of the parties, “preclude their preparation and execution due to a technical error, a technical malfunction of the program, and the like, which the appellants are trying to prove without evidence,” he noted.
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request from Kommersant yesterday.
The press service of Ingka Centers in Russia reported that all information on the case was set out in the court materials, there were no additional comments.
The amount of debt that the retailer collects is comparable to the annual budget for maintaining municipal roads in Ufa.
Former First Deputy Head of the Department of Land and Property Relations of Ufa, lawyer Eduard Sardarov told Kommersant that the overpayment arose as a result of an increase in the cadastral value of plots rented by a retailer in 2015 and, consequently, of rent. “Their rents have risen sharply. Then the City Council reduced the rates of rental rates, it was reduced, but by that time the conscientious tenant, not knowing about the reduction in rates, was paying old, high. We discovered this in 2017, when the company terminated the lease agreements and transferred the constructed infrastructure to the city. Since the city did not have the means to quickly and instantly return the money, a legal dispute arose, ”the source said. The city hall has no prospect of challenging the court’s decision, he believes: “In fact, Ikea financed the city at the Central Bank refinancing rate, and the city used this money.”
Basic Consulting Managing Partner Raul Sayfullin agrees that it is futile to continue the proceedings: “There is nothing to go on appeal with the City Hall, given that its officials endorsed the reconciliation acts. The city authorities should remove the crown and try to agree on reducing the debt burden on the budget, if only by excluding interest. ”