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STOCKHOLM, March 18, /ITAR-TASS/. The court of original jurisdiction in the Stockholm suburb Nacka has rejected Russia’s appeal against forced sale of the Russian Trade Representation in Sweden’s dwelling house on February 18. The house has been sold by Sweden's collection authority.
The court has also rejected Russia’s request for a new trial with the participation of professional lawyers and without associated judges, the court’s department for land and ecological lawsuits told Itar-Tass on Monday. The collection authority’s actions are based on the Swedish Supreme Court’s ruling (July 2011) saying one of the reasons why the trade representation’s house should be sold is that most of the residents are not diplomats.
The verdict can be challenged by April 3, 2014 in the Svea Court of Appeal, which should first agree to admit the case for examination, said the court.
The house was sold for 20.5 million kronor, or 2.2 million euros following the court hearing at the request of a German entrepreneur, Franz Sedelmayer, who demands Russia pay about 5 million euros in compensation for the investments he lost while trying to start a business in St. Petersburg in the 1990s.
According to the rules, new owners will formally come into possession on March 27. The collection agency had warned the bidders a day before the auction it would not be able to assist in physical accession of property rights.
Meanwhile, Russia did not recognise the legitimacy of either the Supreme Court’s ruling or of the auction.
“Any conscientious buyer aware of the controversy would hardly dare buy the Russian property, unless the ultimate aim is a provocation,” the Russian ambassador to Sweden Igor Neverov said. He added Russia “does not accept the auction’s legitimacy, will not admit strangers to its sovereign property” and the residents “will not leave the building” as it is a property of the Russian diplomatic mission, and its residents, employees and their families, have diplomatic immunity.
“We also find it very strange that it is Sweden enjoying a status of international law partisan that resorted to a procedure to claim debt repayment in favour of a person that is not even Swedish citizen and has no permanent residence in the country, a procedure which is dubious, to say the least,” said the Russian embassy.
“According to the Vienna convention, ‘the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity’.