Krasnodar, 28 Мау. Today our interviewee is Yuri Pustovit, Managing Partner of the Law Office ‘Yug.’
Q.: The upcoming changes in the legal status of apartments will be of big importance for the Kuban region, because we have a lot of this kind of realty, especially at the seaside. How would you assess these novelties?
A.: Initially, the idea of the federal Ministry of Construction was to legalize the existing apartments and forbid the appearance of new ones, but the current draft bill provides for legal basis for such construction activity in the future, when residential premises may coexist with nonresidential ones. In my opinion, the only legitimate use of apartments should be if a person purchases a room in hotel with a possibility to rent it or to temporarily live in it. This will not be a very widely spread practice due to the high cost of such realty.
Q.: The business ombudsman Boris Titov was quoted as saying that the authorities at all levels abuse laws at courts when litigating with businesspeople about property (especially with regard to such terms as limitation period and unauthorized constructions). In your opinion, how serious is this problem in reality?
A.: Yes, regretfully, this problem does exist, especially if a lawsuit is initiated by a prosecutor’s office or municipal authority. Quite often, courts would restore the limitation periods for them or decide in their favour despite the defendants’ affirmation that the limitation period has expired. In my opinion, what should be done is to stiffen the protection of private property and prevent it from being withdrawn without its market price being compensated to the owner and the officials proved guilty of the situation brought to responsibility. Otherwise, the record in the state register stating that you are the owner of real property may at any time be doubted, which would make your proprietorship unpredictable, and your investments in realty – highly risky.
Q.: At present, the idea of mediation is becoming more popular in the region. What is your attitude to mediation?
A.: I am quite sceptic about it. For more than ten years of the law on mediation, I am not aware of a single more or less important dispute which may have been resolved with the use of this alternative settlement procedure. On the other hand, it has not become widely spread.
Q.: The legal society has already declared that this year companies will be facing lots of new risks, including a string of new laws and reconsideration of tax agreements. Is this happening yet?
A.: The Russian business community has become used to permanently changing rules of the game, and this is a problem dwelt upon for many years. As for the reconsideration of tax agreements, it means consistent effort aimed at nationalization of the elites, and endeavours to tax capitals in Russia which used to be withdrawn to offshores with a 5% tax. Russia has already reviewed the agreements with the most sought-after jurisdictions – Cypris, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Malta. When structuring deals with my clients, I can hear from them ever more frequently that this structure should be transparent and stay within Russian jurisdiction. One of the reasons for that is the requirement to admit Russian banks to the financing process, which is good Реклама for the Russian budget.
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