The case of the invisible forest

Vologda businessman Sergei Gagarin is trying to defend his right to pay for the actual logging work, believing that there was more wood on the plot than according to the documents. This is confirmed by an independent examination. However, the tenant of the forest plot and the contractor do not agree with this.

three in the forest

The forest district, where the site is located in the Novlensky Forestry, is leased by the Vologda Forest Complex from the Vologda Seed and Seed Management Center – Vologdaleskhoz “Vologdaleskhoz (Vologda Selection Center) For logging, they hired a contractor, OOO Lestekhsnab (LTS), who in turn hired a subcontractor to carry out clean logging in the area, which turned out to be his Nika LLC Sergey Gagarin.

– In the course of the works, it turned out that according to the tax map, there were about three and a half thousand cubic meters of forest on the plot and in fact my workers cut about five thousand cubic meters. As for the payment of the rest of the timber, LTS refused to pay, citing the fact that the payment is made according to the documents for the plot. It turns out that more than a thousand cubic meters of wood were not initially considered? – Sergei Gagarin describes the problem.

The amounts of “unaccounted for” are quite large, estimated at millions of rubles. The manager of Nika LLC was not satisfied with this situation and submitted a request to the tenant of the plot for examination. However, “Vologdaleskhoz” refused to consider, stating in an official reply that, according to the contract, the entire range of work on the plot is performed by the company LTS and in accordance with the acceptable work deeds signed by both parties, the The volume of marketable timber was three and a half cubic meters. And the entire volume of timber harvest was transferred to the buyer – LTS LLC – in December 2020, according to the documents.

Expert opinion

However, Sergei Gagarin hired the specialist himself, having paid for the study. They were experts in the field of MSTU. Bowman, PhD in Vera Savchenkova. In July of this year, she and her assistants went to the plot and carried out a complete count of the stumps at the site in order to locate the actual amount of logged forest.

According to the conclusions of the examination, “violations of the requirements for the distribution of felling areas were revealed, no real control of the accuracy of the forest inventory was carried out and wood was cut in the area beyond the quantity allowed according to the statement. And the executive authorities coordinate the felling of the trees in a quantity smaller than the one that actually grows in that location. At the same time a clean cut is defined and not selective.

After inspection, it was found that about 4.9-5.9 cubic meters of wood had been cut at the site.

As the expert explained, the concealment of information on the discrepancy between the volume of cut wood specified in the forest declaration at the end of the declared period is considered as a deliberate violation of the requirements of the forest legislation.

– If these violations are revealed, then my client, Nika LLC, will be the first to hit, since she actually felled trees. Therefore, I advised him to officially declare the revealed discrepancy between the really cut forest and the tax documents in the part of the forest complex, – Vera Alexandrovna explained.

As practice shows, similar cases in other areas have been dragging on for years due to inconsistencies in the requirements of the Forest Code and the Resolution of the Supreme Court “On liability for violations in the field of environmental protection and nature management”.

its own truth

The tenant (Vologdaleskhoz) and the contractor (LTS) have their own views on the situation. They have complaints about the quality of the work performed, but this does not apply to the amount of timber removed.

– As for the inconceivable forest, I have documents for all the cars that have been removed, all the forest is registered in the Unified State Automated Information System and I have no idea what other forest we can talk about. This is our first contract with “Vologdaleskhoz” in the Vologda area, and it just does not make sense to turn any scam here. I’m interested in our reputation. The whole forest was approved according to laws, all documents were signed. “This is a dispute in the Arbitration Court and I have no doubt that we will win the case,” said Alexey Pashov, LTS captain.

He suggests that the employees could mislead Sergei Gagarin by overestimating the logging figures and the contractor has no justification for this other than an examination.

“But I can pay for such an examination myself and they will write what I need for the money,” comments Alexey Pashov.

The director of the Vologda selection center, Alexei Enalsky, told Krasny Sever that for the first time in his entire practice he was facing such a situation. In his opinion, the scandal is growing from the beginning.

– We had no complaints about the volume of timber exported, all transactions were signed, – explained Alexey Pavlovich.

From three sides

Based on the results of a statement by Nika LLC to the Department of Forestry and a press release from Krasny Sever, the department conducted its own review of the current situation and revealed violations by Vologdaleskhoz of timber harvesting rules on tax standards. . and forest fire safety rules due to non-exported forest time.

As a result of the inspection, Vologdaleskhoz was fined 120,000 rubles by the forest department.

However, representatives of the department do not agree with the results of an independent examination. In their opinion, the difference lies in the volume and composition of plantations within the limits of acceptable values.

The official response of Nika LLC states that it is impossible to verify the accuracy of the data specified in the forest declaration after the cutting of forest plantations. The information on the volume and composition of the wood species intended for logging is checked either before the distribution of the cutting areas or before the logging.

It is also emphasized that part of the clearing is covered with logging residues and not all the stumps are marked with color as a result of the inspection, which raises doubts about the objectivity of the examination.

– The color marking is done during the examination only for himself, this requirement is not defined in any law. We only noted those stumps where there were breaks at work and when the space is in direct visual contact, there is no such need. It is not in my interest to take a position here: I value my capacity as an expert and objectivity is the most important thing for me, – explained Vera Savchenkova.

A similar case is now before the Vologda District Arbitration Court. The company “SVK” submitted an application to the department of the forest complex and to the prosecutor’s office with a request to check the compliance of the forest declaration with the actual volumes of cut wood according to the documents of the forest tenant – Promtorg LLC.

After an audit of the department, a 10% discrepancy was found with tax documents, which was recognized as insignificant.

– In fact, the difference in volumes is about 800 – 900 cubic meters of wood. And instead of deciduous trees on the plot there were 75% conifers, more expensive, which do not meet the documentation. There is a clear classification here, which indicates problems with primary accounting when issuing documents. At current wood prices, this is serious money. It seems strange to me that the inspection of the department was carried out by the same experts who issued this documentation – employees of the forest company Mezhdurechensky. Their interest in ensuring that inconsistencies are not detected is obvious. “It’s not clear where this unregistered forest has gone,” said lawyer Andrey Zhigalov.

Considers that in order to resolve the dispute, it is necessary to refer the case to the Arbitration Court and to conduct a joint examination, in which observers from three sides should be involved in order to eliminate all discrepancies.

Case mentioned above

The director of Nika LLC insisted on repeated objective verification of the actual volume of cut wood. In September, he re-applied to the department of the forest complex with a proposal to send a specialist to participate in the joint accounting of the stumps in the territory of the site. However, the department refused, considering the control unfounded.

“According to the results of the counting of the cut trees, it was found that the stock of cut timber exceeds the declared by 9%, and the deviations in the cluster composition coefficient do not exceed one. Thus, there are no grounds for an act of discrepancy between the data of the state forest office and the on-site investigation “, the official response to the request was also signed. about. Alexey Khakhalin, Deputy Head of the Forest Group Department.

In case of disagreement with the department’s conclusions, the director of Nika LLC was asked to contact law enforcement, which happened: Sergey Gagarin sent a complaint to the Vologda District Prosecutor’s Office and the office of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin describing the situation and requesting independent control.

– Taking into account the current cost of round timber in the commodity market of the Vologda region, only in this case, the state treasury suffered a loss of about 18 million rubles. And there is the assumption that some employees of the department of the forest complex are deliberately distorting the real conditions, – Sergei Gagarin supports his position.

Only time will tell how this confrontation will end. But the businessman does not intend to give up the search for the truth.

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