KYIV - [Presenter] The Hlitsyniya guesthouse in Yalta won't become the residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kiev business court today cancelled the scandalous agreement on the sale of Hlitsyniya to Russia's Vneshtorgbank [Foreign Trade Bank], BBC Monitoring Service reported referring to One Plus One Channel.  

Former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the former head of the Directorate for State Affairs, Ihor Bakay, were involved in the deal. Artek [children's recreation centre], which was the formal seller at the time, must return to the state the 36m hryvnyas [7.2m dollars] it received. Mariya Vasylyeva has the details.

[Oleh Bachun, captioned as head of the board of judges of Kiev economic court, reading ruling] The court has decided to partially satisfy the demands of the plaintiff and to find invalid the purchase-sale agreement of 12 November 2004 for the buildings and premises of the Hlitsyniya guesthouse.

By way of a reciprocal restitution, Vneshtorgbank - located at 16 Kuznetskiy Most Street, Moscow, Russian Federation - is obliged to return to the state-owned Artek International Children's Centre - at the designated location - the buildings and premises of the Hlitsyniya guesthouse.

[Correspondent] The verdict of the Kiev business court summed up 22 rulings by courts of various levels during the two-year dispute. Lawyers are constantly amazed at the resourcefulness of some of the officials who devised a huge number of cunning schemes for transferring ownership of state property.

Hlitsyniya has been passed from hand to hand since 1997, when the State Tax Administration took the guesthouse from the Supreme Council [parliament]. Seven years later, it was temporarily under the jurisdiction ofthe legendary presidential Directorate for State Affairs.

Then, for a month it was the property of Artek. At least on paper, it was the children's republic that sold the pearl of the Livadiya complex and part of the park of the Counts Potocki to Russia's Vneshtorgbank for 78m hryvnyas, of which the Russians have paid less than half.

It is rumoured that the Russian president has an eye on Hlitsyniya, and his Ukrainian colleague could not refuse.

[Anatoliy Selivanov, captioned as parliament representative] To receive for such a minimal sum a building as unique as the Hlitsyniya guesthouse, to receive 20 hectares of land that is of national significance - this certainly did not happen without certain aspects such as, let's say, agreements that went against state interests.

[Correspondent] There has not been any reaction from Moscow yet. A representative of Vneshtorgbank refused to comment. But all sides are preparing for the legal battle to continue in other courts - right up to the Stockholm International Arbitration Court.

[Vsevolod Loskutov, captioned as adviser to the Russian embassy] We acquired this building, paid money for it, in accordance with Ukrainian laws. We saw the logic of the way this situation developed. I don't think we were surprised because we saw the direction it was taking, but of course this causes concern.

[Correspondent] Hlytsyniya has been returned to Ukraine, but only 450 special Ukrainians [MPs] and their families will be able relax in this heavenly spot. According to the court ruling, Artek should transfer it to the Nyzhnya Oreanda sanatorium complex, which comes under the apparatus ofthe Ukrainian parliament.


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