Estonian businessman loses court case to Russian defense ministry ({{commentsTotal}})

Tõnis Palts.
Tõnis Palts. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonian businessman and former politician for IRL, Tõnis Palts, has lost a legal case in Crimea to the Russian ministry of defense. A second-tier court decided that the buildings on a plot of land where Palts planned to build a resort belong to the Russian state.

Palts bought the former military base in Balaklava close to the strategically important port of Sevastopol to build a resort. The plot, about 20 hectares (49 acres) of land on the coast of the Crimean peninsula, belongs to Palts’ company Kaskad Investments, but the ruins of the army base to the Russian ministry of defense, the court confirmed.

As daily Postimees wrote on Thursday, this now means that neither party can do anything there as long as the dispute remains unsolved.

The base, which is known locally by its military index number B-42, used to be a missile complex in Soviet days. After the collapse of the USSR, the base was abandoned. Palts bought it for 10 million Ukrainian grivna in 2006, some €1.65 million.

Palts won the case in a first-tier arbitration court in March. As the businessman told daily Postimees at the time, the court’s decision came as a surprise, as this was the first time ever that someone had won against the Russian military.

Kaskad Investments now has until Sept. 25 to take the matter to the highest court of arbitration in Central Russia in Kaluga. The Russian ministry of defense will most likely aim for a court decision to dispossess Kaskad Investments and seize the plot itself as well.

Tõnis Palts is a member of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) and a former mayor of Tallinn as well as minister of finance.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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