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Russia 'blocks' Stockholm property sale

Published: 16 Apr 2012 16:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Apr 2012 16:59 GMT+02:00

The Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) was about to seize and sell a property in Stockholm belonging to the Russian Trade Delegation when a letter to the agency from the country’s embassy stopped the proceedings, according to a report in trade and business paper Dagens Industri (DI).

The conflict between the German businessman who owns the property and the Russian delegation has been ongoing for some time and the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) has ruled in favour of the Enforcement Authority.

The building is not considered to be covered by any diplomatic immunity and the agency should therefore handle the matter as they would any building in the country.

But when the agency tried to have the property valued, they received a letter from the Russian embassy, claiming that the sale of the property would be detrimental to Swedish-Russian relations, reports DI.

And Peter Stigefelt of the agency was warned off proceeding with the sale in a conversation with a Russian official, saying that should that happen, it could mean that the “equal measures” might be taken against the Swedish embassy in Moscow, according to the paper.

The evaluation of the property was supposed to take place at the end of February but was ultimately cancelled by the agency. However, according to the agency this has nothing to do with pressure put on them by the Russian embassy.

“The Russians also had new information and we are obliged to look into this,” said Eva Liedström Adler of the agency told newspaper Borås Tidning (BT).

The fate of the building will be determined on Tuesday.

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Your comments about this article

23:03 April 16, 2012 by kamenny
Unfortunately you have not covered the whole story!

See link: http://robertamsterdam.com/2012/04/sweden-buckles-under-russian-pressure-on-arbitration/
13:12 April 17, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
Thanks for the interesting link kamenny. I don't agree with any country trying to seize property in their country to supposedly compensate for injustice in another country, though. This Sedelmayer is trying to get the Swedish authorities to seize Russian property for himself because he doesn't like decisions made by Russian authorities in Russia. Other countries should stay out of each others jurisdictions. Such interferences often lead to wars.
23:20 April 17, 2012 by Scambaiter
This article is both confusing and incomplete, ie very poorly written.

Confusing because in paragraph one it states that the "property in Stockholm belongs to the Russian Trade Delegation", yet in paragraph two it says "a German businessman owns the property". Who actually owns the property?

The truth is that the property on Lidingö is owned by the Russian Federation, full stop. Hence it is misleading to suggest that "pressure was put on them (Kronofogden) by the Russian embassy" because who wouldn't complain if someone attempted to seize property that didn't belong to them in a foreign jurisdiction?

Having said that, the Swedish Supreme Court ruled that the property was not subject to diplomatic immunity because "it was not listed as the Russian "trade mission's official premises" and the totality of the circumstances meant that the property "was not, to a substantial degree, used for the Russian Federation's official purposes."

Furthermore, the background to the case is complicated. According to pravda.ru...Mr Franz Sedelmayer (the German businessmen in question) founded a business in St. Petersburg in 1991. The company of Franz Sedelmayer, SGC International, and St. Petersburg police department established a JV (joint venture). This is not surprising: government agencies were allowed to do business then. Moreover, the police offered a mansion on Kamenny Island, the residence of its department, as capital stock for the deal.

Sedelmayer had rented the building for 25 years, had invested 2.35 million Euros in its repair, turning the once dilapidated mansion into a modern conference center, as well as a place to train security forces.

According to German media, in 1994, the activities of his company were declared illegal, and along with the company Sedelmayer was dispossessed of the mansion - his new owner was the "Russian president's administration." Later it was turned into a federal residence under the name "K-4."

The Russian authorities explained the reason why he was not compensated for the costs by the fact that the Kamenny Island did not provide supporting documents, and allegedly renounced the estate. The security service of Sedelmayer withstood a three-month siege of the police before the mansion "surrendered." Sedelmayer was denied entry into Russia."

So as Kamenny correctly points out, the Local hasn't covered the whole story...and there are always two sides.

Was Sedelmayer ripped off by the Russian authorities? It certainly sounds like it although those authorities will almost certainly have some bureaucratic excuse for the original seizure. They always do.

Has Sedelmayer any hope of recovering his money?...not a snowball's chance in hell. And as Pravda puts it "German businessman hurts Russia's reputation in the West" and as David says "other countries should stay out of each others jurisdictions".

Were the Swedish authorities naive to get involved? Most definitely.
11:21 April 20, 2012 by stevo1
Spineless Swedish diplomacy...at work at it's best!

Sweden needs to grow a pair, sell the property, remove it's consul from Russia, stop all import and exports to Russia, refuse entry to Sweden for all Russian citizens and residents, erect a massive fence along it's borders with a "shoot to kill" order present for any one trying to get into the country illegally.

F*CK Russia!

Sweden does not need this country as a friend with this sort of BS behaviour.

Sweden has an awesome military and the weapons technology to blow these "red" necks off the map.
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