Oleg Sorokin dispossessed at face value
The court satisfied the claim of the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation for the recovery of 1.5 billion rubles of income received as a result of a corruption act from the former head of Nizhny Novgorod Oleg Sorokina specialized developer Ingradstroy, controlled by the former wife of the ex-head of the city, and her business partners, an Interfax correspondent who was present at the court session on Thursday said.
By a court decision, this amount, which is the total profit of SZ Ingradstroy LLC for several years, is collected jointly and severally from Sorokin, his former wife Elada Uplandentrepreneurs Oleg Golovko, Pavel and Maxim Akatov, LLC Start-Stroy and Management Company Stolitsa Nizhny.
Elada Nagornaya owns several companies, among which is the Stolitsa Nizhny group of companies. It manages five largest shopping and entertainment centers in Nizhny Novgorod with a total area of 388,000 square meters, which are visited annually by almost 30 million people, two business centers with a total area of 29,000 square meters. Also, “Stolitsa Nizhny” built residential complexes “Seventh Heaven”, “Flowers”, “Aquamarine”, and a total of 575 thousand square meters of housing. In 2013, she was recognized as the richest among the wives of Russian officials. For the year, its income reached 1.5 billion rubles. Now Nizhny Novgorod lives abroad.
SZ “Ingradstroy” is building the largest residential complex in Nizhny Novgorod. According to the company, 37 residential buildings were put into operation, 12 more houses are being built. Nagornaya is only the nominal owner of the construction company, and the transfer of this property to her is fictitious.
The prosecutor’s office substantiated its claims with the materials of the criminal case, following the consideration of which Sorokin was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the spring of 2019. The plaintiff made a reference to the judicial practice of considering cases when incomes received as a result of corruption are collected in favor of the state.
The defense of the defendants insisted that Sorokin’s verdict had no prejudicial significance for the prosecutor’s office’s claim, and there was no connection between Sorokin’s actions established by the verdict and Ingradstroy’s income from the sale of the constructed housing.
Representatives of the defendants stated that the lawsuit did not contain evidence of the influence of Sorokin as the head of the city on the activities of Ingradstroy, evidence that the division of property, enshrined in the marriage contract of 2010, was fictitious, drew the attention of the court to the fact that both the auction itself and land lease agreements concluded as a result of the auction were not recognized as illegal.
The Nagornaya Court could not hear due to the lack of a videoconferencing with Israel, where she now lives, and her lawyer could not quickly get a laptop. In addition, the prisoner noted that the company began building the first house five years later, when he was already in prison.
“How can I manage such a colossus from prison that will only build engineering networks for the city for 4.6 billion rubles? And why are you demanding money for the period when I was no longer the head of the city? Well, then you will sue its owners, and the state, perhaps, will build houses for equity holders, “Sorokin was indignant.
The representative of the prosecutor’s office did not answer the question of Sorokin, who participated in the meeting via videoconference, whether the prosecutor’s office considers the lease agreements for the land where Ingradstroy is building a residential complex to be legal, citing the fact that this is not the subject of a lawsuit.
In addition, the defense noted that the prosecutor’s office did not conduct inspections of Ingradstroy for corruption, as provided for by the anti-corruption legislation, and drew the attention of the court that in all anti-corruption claims cited by the plaintiff as judicial practice, there is information about such inspections.
LLC SZ “Ingradstroy” belongs to LLC SZ “Start-Stroy”, controlled by Nagornaya (60% stake), Golovko (30%) and Maxim and Pavel Akatov (5% each), according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. In the same shares, these individuals own LLC “Management Company” Stolitsa Nizhny “.
The management company “Stolitsa Nizhny” announced its intention to appeal the court’s decision.
As reported, in August 2012, the regional Ministry of State Property announced an auction for the right to lease 14 land plots as part of a single lot with a total area of 4 million 532.179 thousand square meters. meters in the south-eastern part of the Soviet district of Nizhny Novgorod.
Ingradstroy, as the only participant in the auction, received the right to conclude a site agreement for a period of 15 years at an initial price of 50 million rubles.
FAS Russia at the end of November 2012 annulled the results of the auction on the complaint of Vektron CJSC. At the same time, during the consideration of the complaint, the applicant’s arguments were recognized as unfounded, however, the FAS commission revealed violations of the antimonopoly law.
The Nizhny Novgorod Ministry of State Property challenged the decision of the FAS Russia in the Moscow Arbitration Court, but lost the case in the first and appeal instances. In December of the same year, the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District invalidated the decision and order of the Federal Antimonopoly Service on the illegality of the auction.
It was also reported that the Nizhny Novgorod District Court of Nizhny Novgorod in March 2019 sentenced Sorokin to 10 years in a strict regime colony and a fine of 460 million rubles. The actions of the ex-mayor are qualified under Part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (taking a bribe on an especially large scale), he was also found guilty of complicity in kidnapping (paragraphs “a”, “c”, “d” part 2 of article 126 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and complicity in abuse of office.
Sorokin, who previously headed the Stolitsa Nizhny Group of Companies, was elected head of Nizhny Novgorod in the fall of 2010 and held this post until the fall of 2015. In 2016, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, in March 2018 his powers were terminated.
Prior to his entry into politics, Sorokin was engaged in the construction business. In 1998-1999 he was the general director of the Start plant, in 1999-2001 he was the deputy director for finance of the state institution Road Fund of the Nizhny Novgorod Region. In 2003, he founded the Stolitsa Nizhny group of companies, which specializes in the construction of housing and shopping centers. In 2005, he became a member of the regional parliament, where he headed the commission for construction and architecture, and in October 2010 he was elected mayor of Nizhny Novgorod.