Thousands of Russian families walked over

Some 80,000 Russian families were conned out of their money in housing construction schemes, chairman of the committee on industry, construction and science-intensive technologies at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Martin Shakkum stated on Wednesday.

"Fifteen thousand people are victims of this fraud in Moscow, and another 20,000 in the Moscow region," Shakkum said at a "round table" discussion over legal aspects of private investments in the housing construction sector.

The main types of law-breaking here are the ill-conceived, risky financial policy of construction companies, the schemes to sell the same apartment to different buyers, misuse of the collected investments and the failure to meet the deadline for commissioning the house, the participants in the discussion said.

Lawmakers believe that the effective legislation is unable to guarantee to the private investors that the construction firms would meet all their obligations in full measure.

The law on investing in housing construction has not resolved the problem, it only worsened the situation, deputy head of the committee Alexander Hinshtein said.

"The law, meant to protect the interests of investors, blocked housing construction under shareholding plans instead; it created less attracting conditions for market participants," Hinshtein pinpointed.

Moscow prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said a number of cases over fraud in housing construction had been opened, including the case against the Sibur-Invest company, whose administration had cheated 34 people.

"Having launched an active promotional campaign, Sibur-Invest announced that housing construction was underway, but it, in fact, never began. The investors' money to the tune of 59 million roubles have been misappropriated by the company," Zuyev said.

Earlier this month, Russian authorities launched a hotline for victims of housing construction fraud.

According to the Association of Builders of the Russian Federation, housing construction fraud is an obstacle to the national project on providing affordable housing, Itar-Tass reports. V.Y.

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