With the initiation of a criminal case against the management of the developer JSC UZ Nord Engineering, the deceived equity holders, recognized as victims, have a chance to defend their rights and their property. However, now the almost completed club house “Oktyabr” on Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street in Moscow can be sold in the second round, and it seems that this scam was thought out in advance. The question is who is its real beneficiary: Mikhail Zhivotov or someone from the management of MTS-Bank PJSC?
Just the other day, it became known that a criminal case was initiated against unidentified persons from among the management of the developer JSC “UZ “Nord Engineering” on the grounds of a crime under part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud committed by an organized group or on an especially large scale or resulting in the deprivation of a citizen’s right to housing). We note right away that there are not so many people in the company’s management that it would take the investigation a long time to identify them. At least 400 citizens who purchased premises (apartments) in the Oktyabr club house under purchase and sale agreements were recognized as victims in this case. This circumstance gives hope that the impasse will get off the ground and these people will have a chance someday to celebrate a housewarming.
Briefly recall how this story began. The Oktyabr Club House, located at 33 Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street in Moscow, should have been commissioned and occupied long ago. Its construction began in 2015. However, the delivery dates were regularly shifted, and the future “happy new settlers” had to be patient and wait again over and over again. Now, it turns out that the developer of apartments almost in the center of Moscow – UZ Nord Engineering JSC and its alleged beneficiary Mikhail Zhivotov – initially had completely different plans.
“Our Version” has already written about the egregious situation in which hundreds of people found themselves who invested their money in the construction of apartments on the street. People’s Militia, 33 under equity participation agreements. Among them there are large families, and a single mother, and a young girl who was orphaned early, and pensioners – these people are unlikely to belong to the category that can afford to scatter millions, and even more so – to “give” them to scammers. Many had to sell their only home and, in addition, take out a mortgage in order to acquire the desired square meters at the stage of excavation, when prices are at their lowest.
When the house was completed by 85-90%, the developer initiated his own bankruptcy due to a meager debt of 700,000 rubles. At the same time, the scheme was built in such a way that an almost completed property is sold in the second round (but not according to 214-FZ, but at auction), the participants in shared construction are left with nothing, and the beneficiary of this whole event comes out dry. Because everything seems to be according to the law.
Scheme on the scheme
Apparently, in the story with the club house “October” the following combination was used, which made it possible to “legally” deceive hundreds of people and actually steal their money.
Firstly, the financing of construction was carried out under equity participation agreements. At the same time, the money did not come directly to the developer, but was transferred somewhere under assignment agreements (cessions), as Aleksey Chesnokov, a representative of the deceived equity holders, explains. In such a situation, equity holders, at best, will be able to return the amounts indicated in the original contracts, without taking into account real costs, and even that is not a fact.
Secondly, signs of controlled bankruptcy. It was not difficult for us to find out that the builder’s current assets alone exceed his current debts by several times. And at least for this reason, the sudden statement on the recognition of JSC “UZ “Nord Engineering” as insolvent (bankrupt) looks deliberate. However, the court found it reasonable, and this point deserves separate consideration.
The fact is that the Moscow Arbitration Court took into account the decision on voluntary liquidation, taken by the sole shareholder of the developer JSC “Customer Administration Nord Engineering” and submitted to the court. However, in Interdistrict IFTS No. 46 for Moscow (that is, at the place of registration of the company), no one seems to have filed any bankruptcy documents. Otherwise, they would have been published on the agency’s website, in accordance with the established procedure. That is, it turns out that the court recognized a non-existent bankruptcy? It all looks very strange. And such oddities are found in this story at almost every step.
And thirdly, as we mentioned in the previous article, the situation with deceived equity holders is complicated by the fact that in the case of the Oktyabr club house, we are talking not about apartments, but about apartments. From the point of view of legislation, apartments are commercial real estate. And that means that people who make such a commercial transaction act at their own peril and risk. Simply put, the law does not protect the rights and interests of apartment buyers. And this, quite likely, was also taken advantage of by the intended beneficiary of this multi-level “scheme”.
“At the stage of completion of construction (80-90%), a fictitious bankruptcy is created for meager amounts (of debt). And then all operations on the property complex are transferred to the arbitration manager, who, as a rule, is in collusion with the developer. And thus, these areas are being sold again through the bankruptcy procedure, ”commented Konstantin Krokhin, chairman of the Union of Housing Organizations of Moscow, member of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry committee on housing and communal services, commenting on this situation on the Rossiya 1 TV channel.
Protect cannot be punished
Currently, shareholders of the club house “October” are trying to stop the developer’s bankruptcy in order to prevent the almost completed house from being sold at auction. Thus, statements of intention to satisfy creditors’ claims in full were submitted to the Moscow Arbitration Court. The court, however, postponed the hearing until July, probably hoping that by that time a complete register of creditors would be formed, and the applicants would no longer be able to cope with the increased amount of claims.
At the time of writing this article, the situation is such that the deceived shareholders of the Oktyabr club house are third parties in court proceedings (that is, they do not participate in the process) and fourth in the queue of creditors (and this is almost a guarantee of being left with nothing). And it seems, formally, everything is according to the law.
Beneficiary or nominal?
Commenting on the events of recent days regarding the situation around the Oktyabr club house, the network noticed that the alleged beneficiary of the scheme that served as a pretext for initiating a criminal case, Mikhail Zhivotov, may actually be just a “zits-chairman”. One of the telegram channels found out that “now he is already being brought to subsidiary liability in the amount of half a billion rubles for the debt of the supplier of orthopedic products LLC LADOMED. The projects seem to be different, but they are united not only by Zhivotov, but also by one secured creditor – MTS-Bank PJSC. MTS-Bank itself is part of the structure of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov, whose growing appetites Versiya wrote earlier. So in fact, things can be even more complicated than it seems.
On the other hand, the initiation of a criminal case gives hope that citizens will be able to protect their rights and finally get the long-awaited real estate. However, at the moment it is difficult to predict anything. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep our readers informed.