Yukos shareholders have secured the arrest of land for an Orthodox center in Paris


Land in the heart of Paris, on which the Kremlin is built of spiritual and cultural Orthodox centre €90 million, arrested former Yukos shareholders, found . But the project is not affected: by the court of Paris for the object of diplomatic immunity and refused to block construction. The lawyers appealed against the arrest of the site and its old buildings, the court has not yet decided.

Cyprian Hulley Enterprises, who owned the majority of Yukos shares, initiated the arrest of Russian property in the heart of Paris in June 2015 — along with dozens of other Russian assets in France, including buildings, Bank accounts, stocks and payments to French companies. Seizure of a land plot suggests only a ban on the disposal (of the asset cannot be sold, but Russia was not going to do that), and Hulley and even tried to block construction on the site. But on July 24 the judge for the execution of judicial decisions (juge de l execution, a special Institute in France. — ) the Paris court of first instance decided that the land for the construction of an Orthodox center enjoys diplomatic immunity, says the French lawyer Andrea Pinna, representing the interests of Russia. After this the former shareholders of the Yukos asked to suspend the construction of the Collegium headed by the first Vice-President of the Paris court. But on 22 January 2016, the court dismissed the petition, citing the fact that only the judge (juge de l execution) jurisdiction. A copy of the decision have .

Shrine for €160 million

An area of 4.7 thousand square metres at the Quai Branly administrative Department of the President of the Russian Federation acquired in 2010 — according to media reports, for €70 million. In the vicinity of the Eiffel tower by the Seine river will be erected a Russian Orthodox cross-domed Church — the first since the collapse of the Russian Empire. Will also built a Seminary, a library, cultural center and the Russian-French school. The complex was designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and the construction contractor is the French company Bouygues Batiment.

The project is financed from the Federal budget, in 2015 it was allocated 258 million rubles for the reimbursement of Bouygues Batiment (in budget 2016 not found allocation). The value of the contract with Bouygues amounts to €90.7 million to €27.2 million for 2014, €47,1 million for 2015 and €16.3 million for 2016, should the procurement document the administration of the President of 29 April 2015. Thus, taking into account the purchase price of the land the project would cost Russia at €160 million.

Construction without delay

The construction of the spiritual and cultural center was officially launched in April 2015. It is on schedule, said on 19 January, the Deputy head of Department of presidential Affairs Pavel Fradkov. The object is to be commissioned in mid-2016. Soon the churches will begin to install five domes, was reported by TASS last month. They are manufactured in a firm Multiplast composite materials.

“Construction work is not stopped, they were at an advanced stage and should be completed in 2016”, — knows Andrea Pinna. The press service of Bouygues did not answer the question about the activities. Representatives of the administration of the President are unable to comment on the phone.

The Prosecutor on the side of Russia

At the hearing in December Hulley tried to prove that the construction in itself is not an exercise of the sovereign functions of the Russian state, and therefore, in this case, sovereign immunity cannot be invoked. In addition, she argued that the interim measure of suspension of construction is justified in order to “prevent imminent damage or stop clearly illicit violations” (article 809 of the Civil procedure code of France) — the erection of the Church reduces the commercial value of the land.

On the side of Russia was made by the representative of the public Prosecutor of France, who stated that “the attached property is intended to create a school, cultural center, Church and parish center and, as such, directly implements the state’s sovereignty because it is designed to provide cultural and spiritual influence.” In addition, the project involves the cultural and educational goals and assigned to a diplomatic mission, that is not intended for commercial functions, stated the representative of the Prosecutor. The plot on the Quai Branly under construction there and the building is owned directly by the Russian Federation, and not to any governmental Agency or the Federal Agency, said the Pinna.

The court ordered Hulley Enterprises to pay €7.5 thousand Russian and her co-defendant, Bouygues Batiment, the reimbursement of litigation expenses. A source close to the former majority shareholders of Yukos, said that it was “not such a big failure,” because the land remains under arrest. The representative of GML (the holding company for the former Yukos shareholders) declined to comment.

Trials on appeal by the Federation of property arrests are still ongoing, various courts (primarily that of the Executive judge of the Paris court of first instance), who have jurisdiction, yet no action was taken, says a French lawyer of Russia. The arrests were carried out by bailiffs on behalf of former shareholders of Yukos, ex parte (without a court order, which in French law in such cases is not needed), after December 1, 2014, the Paris court of first instance issued an exequatur — permission for performing in France the verdict of international arbitration in the Hague awarded Yukos shareholders $50 billion compensation. Russia filed a petition in the court of appeal on the abolition of exequatur, a decision is expected in early 2017.