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Russia to ignore auction concerning Russia’s trade mission in Stockholm

January 31, 2014, 14:11 UTC+3

The state would also suppress any attempts to enter the building, Russian presidential administrative department stated

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MOSCOW, January 31. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian side will ignore the re-auction on compulsory sale of Russian trade mission’s building in Stockholm, which was announced by the Bailiffs Service of Sweden in accordance with the country’s Supreme Court judging of July 1, 2011, upon a lawsuit filed by German businessman Franz Sedelmayer. Russia does not accept its results and intends to suppress any attempt of entering the building, Viktor Khrekov, spokesperson for Russia’s presidential administrative department, told Itar-Tass.

“As it was repeatedly stated, the Russian site does not accept the legitimacy of this Supreme Court ruling, as it contravenes the existing norms of international law and practice,” he stressed.

Khrekov recalled that in 2011, in negotiations that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden with participation of representatives of the Administrative Department of the President of Russia and Russian embassy in Stockholm, the Swedish side confirmed the unconditional diplomatic status of Russian trade mission’s buildings in Sweden, documenting it in an official note of Swedish Foreign Ministry date August 11. The document’s copy was passed to Sweden’s Bailiffs Service by accredited lawyers of the Administrative Department.

The spokesperson noted that “the Bailiffs Service was officially notified by the Foreign Ministry of Sweden that the facilities of a diplomatic mission could not be an object of enforced collection”.

“Therefore, considering these facts, the announcement of Sweden’s Bailiffs Service of a re-auction and the “event” itself in case it takes place would not have legal force for the Russian side and would be ignored,” spokesperson for Russia’s presidential administrative department said.

He warned that “any attempts to enter the territory of the trade mission and into the building would be suppressed in accordance with international law norms”.


First auction

The previous auction, in the course of which the building estimated at 62 million Swedish kronas ($9.25 million) should have been compulsorily sold, took place in September 2012, but then this lot had not found any buyers. At present, the building’s price has been reduced to 10.5 million kronas ($1.64 million). “Our actions are determined by law, and we hope to realize the maximum sum,” Peter Stigefelt, representative of the Bailiffs Service, told an Itar-Tass correspondent in Stockholm.

He added that the Bailiffs Service bears upon the corresponding court ruling. In October 2010, the Stockholm District Court ruled to arrest the property (the trade mission’s residential house) upon a suit filed by German businessman Franz Sedelmayer, who demanded to claim from Russia about €5 million as compensation for lost investments in an attempt to set up an enterprise in Saint Petersburg in the 1990s. The Russian side in its appellation pointed to the fact that “all assets of the Russian Federation on Swedish territory are state property and are used for purposes, on which state and diplomatic immunity apply”.

Russia does not accept the legitimacy of the auction. “The house is property of the Russian diplomatic mission, and employees, who live in it with their families — about 40 families in total, — have diplomatic immunity and are untouchable in accordance with law,” Russia’s ambassador to Sweden Igor Neverov noted. “I can hardly imagine that, knowing this, a bona fide purchaser of our realty would be found, if only he does not intend acts of provocation,” he believes. “We do not accept the auction as lawful, we would not allow unauthorized persons on our sovereign property and will not leave the building,” the diplomat said.

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