ST. PETERSBURG, December 7. /TASS/. A district court in St. Petersburg passed a resolution on Thursday to confiscate 16 items of real estate in St. Petersburg worth more than 880 million rubles [$14.9 mln], which belong to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania registered in the U.S., and to turn them over to the government, the united press service of city courts said on Thursday.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania received the immovable property from the Jehovah’s Witnesses administrative center in Russia that has been banned by the Russian authorities.
"The Sestroretsk district court entertained a lawsuit filed by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kurortny district against the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania legal entity and confiscated in favor of the state the entity’s properties consisting of 16 items [land plots, residential houses, buildings] having the cadastral value of 881,407,566 rubles [$ 14,939,111]," the press service said.
According to the court findings, the Jehovah’s Witnesses administrative center in Russia transferred an estate on the shore of the Gulf of Finland to the Society as a donation in 2000. Later on, however, it continued using the compound - a fact proceeding from which the court recognized the transfer null and void.
The real estate will be turned over to government property.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation declared the Russian affiliation of Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and banned its activities in this country.