Prosecutor sues to acquire Jehovah's Witnesses' property


by Anastasia Eremina

Kommersant, 3 September 2019


The prosecutor's office of Kirov oblast sent to a court a demand to find a contract of donation of immovable property invalid and to transfer to state ownership nonresidential premises of 175.4 square meters on Lenin Prospect in Kirovo-Chepetsk. Officially the owner of the property is a religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses (forbidden in Russia) that is registered in the territory of Finland.


As the office reports, it has been established that originally the immovable property belonged to the local organization of Jehovah's Witnesses of Kirovo-Chepetsk. Before the liquidation of the association in 2016, it donated this apartment to "Jehovah's Witnesses of Votkinsk." This organization, in turn, in February 2017 donated the property to the religious association of Jehovah's Witnesses registered in Finland.


However the prosecutor's office of Kirov oblast reports that since acquiring the property, the Finnish Jehovah's Witnesses have not used the premises and have accumulated more than 100,000 rubles of debts to the management company. Thus, in the conclusion of an agreement of donation to a foreign religious organization "there are seen indicators of a sham transaction, concluded for purposes of withdrawal of assets with the intention of inflicting damage on the Russian Federation through the impossibility of converting the property to state ownership." (tr. by PDS, posted 3 September 2019)

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