MOSCOW, January 13 (RAPSI) - The Moscow Commercial Court has postponed the preliminary hearing of the TD Setunskaya case against the Finance Ministry until January 20. The company, owned by Yelena Baturina, has filed for 33.596 billion rubles ($1.02bn) in compensation for the land in western Moscow seized by the state, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

Yelena Baturina, Russia's richest woman, made her fortune in construction during her husband's Yuri Luzhkov 18-year tenure as Moscow Mayor. Luzhkov was sacked in September 2010 after former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he had lost trust in him.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Valery Yeremenko, told RIA Novosti that “the lawsuit resulted from a number of actions carried out by the government authorities.” He said that “twenty years ago, the state allowed the land to be privatized and since then, the land has been private property, but its owners changed. Now, based on Boris Yeltsin’s decree of 1993 that was never published and inter-government agreements of 20 years, also unpublished, the land was seized from its current owner without providing the compensation the owner is entitled to by law.”

According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the compensation claimed is based on the market price of the land as evaluated by independent appraisers, plus all the tax TD Setunskaya paid to the state budget at every level since it became the owner of the land in 2003.

The claim quotes Baturina’s representative Gennady Terebkov as saying that “the payments and tax have been accepted by the relevant authorities without question for almost ten years, which confirms the validity of TD Setunskaya’s ownership of the land and legitimacy of the compensation claimed.”