The trial on the suit of a businessman claiming more than a million bankruptcy through the fault of the “Azure” shopping center

Baku/15.01.22/Turan: A trial has begun in the Baku Court of Appeal (BCA) the coverage of which in Turan will reveal to readers the hidden features of the national commercial business, as well as the work of the Azerbaijani judiciary. On January 11, 2023, the judge of the BCA Vusala Bakhyshova held the first hearing in the case of the owner of the commercial “FB-Company” Anar Garibov and Agha Aliyev, who is defended by lawyer Enver Amiraliev, against the “Azur” shopping center owned by Fuad Rzayev and Babek Babayev. The Trade Center is in Baku, on Nobel Ave., Building 5 (“Megafan”). The shopping center submitted its claim to the court.

The conflict between the owners of the shopping center and A. Garibov, who rented the trading area of 1285 sq. m., has been going on since 2019, and is described in 10 volumes. In this room there was a karting with different levels of roads, which was empty for five years since it was necessary to carry out an expensive overhaul here. Nobody wanted to take over this premises, after a long search, the landlords agreed with Garibov.

The problems began in the fall of 2019, when, after working in the rented premises for less than two months, the tenant unexpectedly received a notice about the rent being raised 5 (!) times. Garibov and Aliyev, who signed the contract based on the previous rental value, could not pay the non-contract amount at the request of the owners of the shopping center, as they spent money on major repairs and the purchase of equipment and goods. A large amount was borrowed. I had to earn money and repay the debt.

Then the representative of the shopping center, with the help of the security service, drove the tenant's employees out of the center and turned off the electricity. Businessmen had to go to court. After 35 days, the shopping center finally restored electricity, store employees were allowed to work. At the same time, numerous advertising banners of the tenant, installed under the contract, were destroyed in the shopping center. 13 days after the restoration of electricity, in response to another appeal from merchants to “Azur” regarding the restoration of advertising in accordance with the terms of the contract, the tenants received a written message that the lease was terminated unilaterally, allegedly due to accumulated debt. It was about the rent they took arbitrarily and unilaterally, but according to the terms of the certified contract, there was no debt.

The shopping center “Azur” informed Garibov in writing about the termination of the contractual relationship due to non-payment of rent at the new tariff, although the previous rate could be changed by mutual agreement of the parties, and was signed for a period until 2027. At the same time, Garibov had to solve the problems that had to face: the store and goods were flooded from the ceiling with sewage water, the electricity was turned off, the shopping center removed the store’s advertising, the security guards of the shopping center forbade trading with home delivery of goods during the months of pandemic bans, the management of the shopping center visited the store and construction work began in it, making trade impossible there. It became difficult for the store to pay even the contractual cost of rent.

Finally, the latest event, on December 29, 2020, was the destruction of the metal door of the store and the removal of equipment and goods to the back room, without the knowledge of its owner. Garibov turned to the police, and an act was drawn up on the theft of goods.

Garibov appealed first to the Khatai District Court, then to the Baku Commercial Court. A court decision was made to stop construction work in the rented premises pending a final court decision. “Azur” did not comply with the court decision, the obstacles in the work of the store continued.

At the insistence of a judge of the Commercial Court, the shopping center allowed to inspect the goods stored seven kilometers from his store, in an unsuitable basement. A forensic medical examination confirmed the damage to all property with damage in the amount of 503,662 manats. In addition, “FB-Company” and its partner, businessman Aliyev, claim that goods worth 410,994 manats were lost and that the company suffered losses from lost profits in the amount of 390,760 manats.

It seemed that everything was clear: a legal verdict would be passed, or the parties to the conflict would come to a mutually beneficial final solution. But the Baku Commercial Court not only did not satisfy the store owner's demand, but also terminated the lease agreement, making it incumbent on Garibov to pay the shopping center about 29,000 manats for rent when it was impossible. The damage to the store was estimated at only 39,000 manats, which is 33 less than the damage indicated in the statement of claim.

The “FB company” is bankrupt, moreover, the owners of the “Azur” shopping center demand payment of rent at a new rate, although it has become impossible to make money there due to the indicated circumstances.

The Baku Commercial Court did not satisfy the complaints of Anar Garibov, making decisions that did not compensate for the damage caused to him. Then the plaintiff filed a complaint with the Baku Court of Appeal (BCA).

At the first meeting of the BAC, lawyer Amiraliyev confirmed the claim demanding a review of the decision of the Commercial Court. The shopping center must compensate for all damages and, at the same time, create conditions for the continuation of work in the “Azur” shopping center based on contracts signed by both parties. The lawyers of the injured party demand the initiation of a criminal case against the owners of the shopping center, who violated the right of ownership, expressed in the removal and damage of goods without the owner's permission.

The second party to the conflict was not heard because the lawyer was late. Therefore, it was not possible to find out the reasons for such an attitude of landlords towards the tenant, as well as to understand why the lower courts did not protect the rights of the businessman. The lawyer of the shopping center refused to answer Turan's questions and did not give his phone number.

The trial in the Baku Court of Appeal will continue on January 18. We hope that the issues of interest to businessmen, directly related to the national characteristics of business in Azerbaijan, will be revealed at the next and other court hearings.

I covered the details of the conflict in detail

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