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Russian trade mission in Sweden refuses to let pre-auction group see disputed building

February 06, 2014, 19:12 UTC+3 6

Neither officials nor prospective buyers were allowed to enter the property

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STOCKHOLM, February 6. /ITAR-TASS/. Sweden's collection authority has attempted to make a pre-auction visit to the dwelling house of the Russian trade mission in Sweden on Thursday, but neither officials nor buyers were allowed to enter the disputed property.

“Twenty-one families live here. They are all employees of the trade mission and of the embassy and have diplomatic and official passports. There have recently been numerous attempts to enter the building illegally, despite the sign saying in Russian and in Swedish that this is the trade mission’s territory. Therefore, the trade mission's security personnel and the families arranged for round-the-clock patrolling,” the head of the trade mission Alexander Katasov told Itar-Tass.

According to the diplomat, the situation that resulted from the plans for auctioning the house is time-consuming and hampers daily routine.

Meanwhile, the collection authority’s spokesperson Peter Stigefelt said the service’s actions were based on effective legislation and expressed hope that the house would be sold for the highest price possible.

He also referred to the 2010 ruling of the Stockholm district court to arrest the trade mission’s house at the request of a German entrepreneur Franz Sedelmayer, who demands Russia pay about €5 million in compensation for his investments lost while trying to start a business in St. Petersburg in the 1990s.

Russian appeal to the Swedish side says that “all Russian assets in Sweden are state property and are used for the purposes that fall under both state and diplomatic immunities”. Supreme Court upheld the decision.

The first auction in 2012 did not find a buyer for the house estimated at 62 million kronor ($9.25 million). The price for the house has been dropped to 10.5 million kronor ($1.64 million). The auction is scheduled for February 18, noon, Moscow time.

“Any conscientious buyer aware of the controversy would hardly dare buy the Russian property, unless the ultimate aim is provocation,” the Russian ambassador to Sweden Igor Neverov said, adding Russia “does not accept the auction’s legitimacy, will not admit strangers to its sovereign property” and the residents “will not leave the building”.

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