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Land deal hearing could damage Abramovich

A Moscow court is to begin looking into the auctioning off of a piece of land near the Russian capital which went for a price massively below the market value. There is speculation that the biggest piece of real estate went to a company controlled by Russ

It is claimed the land will be used to build a leisure park.

Prices of land are soaring in Moscow and its suburbs and it is not just the average home buyer clamouring for a good deal but also possibly the world's sixteenth richest man.

The government discovered leases in the Moscow region were being auctioned off for dirt cheap prices. It has been alleged that one of the people connected was Roman Abramovich.

The government has filed a lawsuit against the auction house.

“The auction wasn’t completely open, because some people who came to take part were refused entry. We’ve seen video footage of them being refused. Of course, that defeats the object of an auction with so few parties taking part,” Oleg Mitvol, Deputy Head of Russia’s environmental watchdog said.

Journalist Sergey Vashchenko says he tried to take part in the auction and he was ready to pay a market price.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to take part and they weren’t allowed to. So the price didn't increase,” he said.

Vedomosti, Russia’s financial daily, claims it has sources that confirm the company which could get the biggest piece of land has links to Roman Abramovich. However, he has refused to comment.

The paper also writes that this land is earmarked for an amusement park worth $ US 300 million.

Land in this area goes for $ US 5,000 to 10,000 per 100 square metres, but it was auctioned off for only $ US 30 dollars per 100 square metres.

A great deal, but perhaps too good to be true.

There are suggestions that many people's applications to take part were refused because those holding the auction had been paid off.

Whether or not Abramovich is involved, such an amount is merely a drop in the ocean for a man worth nearly $ US 19 billion.