China: 在司法实践中如何区分融资租赁关系与借贷关系

Last Updated: 8 May 2019
Article by Peiyi Zhang and Qiang Wang
Most Read Contributor in China, July 2019

本期介绍的融资租赁案例,在区分融资租赁法律关系和借贷法律关系方面,具有典型的参考意义。

售后回租是融资租赁方式中比较常见的一种,实践中,售后回租模式操作不当可能被人民法院认定为借贷关系。笔者有幸在2016年代理了一件融资租赁合同纠纷案,并取得了胜诉判决[判决文号为最高人民法院(2016)最高法民终286号]。本文结合该判决内容,通过案例分析的方式,对融资租赁关系和借贷关系的区别进行简要分析。

一、案情简介

兴业公司与浩博公司、联盛公司于2011年6月签订了《融资租赁合同》,约定由浩博公司将其拥有所有权的租赁物以人民币3亿元的价格转让给兴业公司,再由兴业公司将租赁物出租给浩博公司和联盛公司使用,租赁期限内由浩博公司、联盛公司占有、保管、使用租赁物并支付租金。同日,兴业公司与联盛公司的实际控制人以及大土河公司为承租人的全部债务提供连带保证责任。

因浩博公司和联盛公司不能按期支付租金,兴业公司于2014年向天津高院提起诉讼,要求浩博公司和联盛公司按约支付租金和违约金,并要求保证人承担保证责任。一审期间,吕梁市中级人民法院裁定受理了债权人对浩博公司和联盛公司提出的破产重整申请,并指定了管理人。天津高院认为,本案融资租赁合同合法有效,判决支持了兴业公司的诉讼请求。

一审法院宣判后,笔者对全案证据分析后认为,一审判决认定本案为融资租赁法律关系明显错误。为最大限度地保护广大债权人利益,浩博公司和联盛公司向最高院提出上诉,笔者作为浩博公司、联盛公司管理人委托的诉讼代理人参与了本案二审。

本案二审经过两次庭审,最高院最终采纳了笔者的代理观点,认定本案属于借贷合同纠纷,而非融资租赁合同纠纷,判决撤销一审判决,改判浩博公司和联盛公司支付兴业公司借款本息及违约金,保证人承担连带给付责任。

二、本案属于融资租赁合同还是借贷合同

在本案二审庭审中,各方争议的核心焦点是本案的法律关系为融资租赁合同纠纷还是借贷纠纷。

(一)融资租赁合同的认定

根据《合同法》第二百三十七条给出的定义,传统的融资租赁合同是指出租人根据承租人对出卖人、租赁物的选择,向出卖人购买租赁物,提供给承租人使用,承租人支付租金的合同。最典型的特点是包含"三方主体"、"两个合同",即传统的融资租赁合同一般涉及出租人、承租人、出卖人三方合同主体,包含两个合同,即出租人与出卖人就租赁物签订的买卖合同以及出租人与承租人之间的融资租赁合同。

传统的融资租赁合同比较容易识别,但在实践中,融资租赁往往以售后回租的方式出现,即出卖人和承租人为同一主体,出卖人将租赁物以一定价格出卖给出租人,出租人取得租赁物所有权后再将租赁物出租给出卖人(承租人),承租人在租期内按照约定支付租金。

这种融资模式除了交易双方出于节税的考量外,不仅有利于企业作为承租人盘活存量资产,解决融资难的问题,同时,使出租人的债权得到一定的保障。因此,售后回租模式在近些年受到市场的青睐。在司法实践中,《最高人民法院关于审理融资租赁合同纠纷案件适用法律问题的解释》(以下简称《融资租赁合同解释》)第二条将正常的售后回租定性为融资租赁法律关系。

本案兴业公司与浩博公司、联盛公司签订融资租赁合同约定的内容就是典型的售后回租模式。

(二)融资租赁合同和借贷合同根本区别

最高院认为,租赁物客观存在且所有权由出卖人转移给出租人系融资租赁合同区别于借款合同的重要特征。作为所有权的标的物,租赁物应当客观存在,并且为特定物。

本案中,兴业公司与浩博公司、联盛公司虽签订了"融资租赁合同",约定了售后回租的交易模式。但双方签订的《租赁物所有权转移证书》仅载明租赁物所有权转移而未载明具体的租赁物名称及型号,不足以证明存在能与《租赁物清单》所列租赁物一一对应的特定租赁物,也不足以证明《融资租赁合同》履行过程中存在租赁物的所有权转移,故现有证据不足以认定三方当事人之间系融资租赁合同关系。

《融资租赁合同解释》第一条规定,人民法院应当根据合同法第二百三十七条的规定,结合标的物的性质、价值、租金的构成以及当事人的合同权利和义务,对是否构成融资租赁法律关系作出认定。对名为融资租赁合同,但实际不构成融资租赁法律关系的,人民法院应按照其实际构成的法律关系处理。

因现有证据仅能证明案涉当事人之间有资金的出借与返还关系,而不足以证明存在实际的租赁物并转移了租赁物的所有权,应当认定兴业公司与浩博公司、联盛公司之间系借款合同关系而非融资租赁合同关系。

(三)结论

双方签订融资租赁合同,但没有确定的、客观存在的租赁物,未办理租赁物的所有权转移手续,仅有资金的融通,不构成融资租赁合同关系,即仅有融资,没有融物,则不构成融资租赁法律关系,应按照借贷关系处理。

三、相关建议

结合以上生效案例,为了使正常的售后回租交易受到法律保护,笔者提出以下建议:

(一)在售后回租交易中,合同双方不仅要签订内容完备的《融资租赁合同》,明确约定租赁物名称、型号、数量、价格等关键要素;

(二)出租方应留存租赁物所有权凭证、租赁物购货合同、销售发票等材料,还应办理租赁物所有权转移的手续;

(三)在融资租赁合同履行期间,出租人应安排专人定期对租赁物进行巡检,形成书面记录,确保租赁物状态符合合同约定。

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