The bankruptcy trustee of the Urban Group was able to prove the possible withdrawal of assets by the owner and top management of the company in anticipation of its bankruptcy. The court canceled the sale of almost 9 hectares in Krasnogorsk near Moscow. This site was acquired by a structure affiliated with the beneficiary group, at a price ten times lower than the cadastral one.
The fact that the arbitration court invalidated the transaction for the sale of one of the structures of the bankrupt Urban Group 8.9 hectares in Krasnogorsk near Moscow, “Kommersant” said the group’s administrator Svetlana Aglinishkene. Submission of the claim is confirmed by information from the filing of arbitration cases. The seller was Highgate LLC - the developer of the residential complexes Opaliha O3 and Lesoberezhny, explained Ms Aglinishkene. According to her, the plot was sold for 22.5 million rubles. LLC Severnoye, where the shares are owned by the owner of the Urban Group, Alexander Dolgin, and the former general director of the group, Andrey Puchkov. At the same time, she added, the cadastral value of the land, according to Rosreestr, is 226 million rubles. “Thus, the amount of the sale was tenfold underestimated,” the bankruptcy administrator noted, adding that the transaction was closed nine months before the introduction of bankruptcy. "The arbitration court, recognizing the transaction invalid, agreed with our arguments that it was aimed at the withdrawal of assets by the owners of the company," - said "Kommersant" Svetlana Aglininke.
On Monday, they failed to promptly contact Alexander Dolgin and Andrey Puchkov.
The problems of the Urban Group began in the spring of 2018: Rosreestr stopped registering new equity agreements, and Sberbank withdrew accreditation for mortgage programs. After that, the work of the company, which collected money from 14.6 thousand equity holders, was blocked. In July 2018, bankruptcy proceedings were introduced in companies belonging to the Urban Group: Vash Gorod LLC, Ivastroy LLC, Highgate LLC, Continent Proekt JSC, and Ecoquartal LLC.
To complete the construction of all residential buildings, 67.6 billion rubles are needed, the auditors of Ernst & Young and NEO Center calculated. Part of the funds allocated budgets of the Russian Federation and Moscow region.
According to Svetlana Aglinishkene, the court recognized the invalid of the Highgate sale of 8.9 hectares - this is the first positive decision of the court on claims filed by the bankruptcy trustee of bankrupt companies belonging to the Urban Group. In total, she submitted 53 applications for invalidation of transactions totaling 88 billion rubles. On average, the application process will take six to nine months, she clarified.
In recent years, the authorities have sought to equalize the cadastral value with the market value, but these indicators are not always identical, says the CEO of Geo Development, Maxim Leshchev. According to him, sometimes the cadastral value does not take into account the burden, for example, proximity to the conservation area or power lines, which reduces the market price of the site. “But this happens infrequently,” the expert stipulates. Mr. Leshchev suggests that there is hardly any serious burden on the Urban Group site, which is sold ten times lower than the cadastral value: “Otherwise, the bankruptcy trustee would not insist on canceling the transaction”.
The scheme according to which the owners of the Urban Group sold the plot to an affiliated structure is fairly standard, says Mark Karetin, senior partner of the Yukov & Partners Bar Association. But there are schemes that are difficult to challenge the manager. “Thus, the bankruptcy law gives immunity (from rescission. -“ Kommersant ”) to those transactions where the valuation of the assets sold does not exceed 1% of the book value of the company. That is, companies can sell off assets in parts, the lawyer gives an example. “Or sell them in exchange (open) tenders to a structure whose affiliation is carefully camouflaged.”