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Carlsberg Ends Association with Allegedly Illicit Russian Business

The head of Carlsberg’s Russian operations and a senior executive find themselves under arrest following the Russian government’s assumption of control over the beer company within the country.

Denis Sherstennikov and Anton Rogachevsky, executives at Carlsberg’s Russian arm, Baltika Breweries, were apprehended on Wednesday. Carlsberg had ended its operations in Russia the previous month due to the state’s takeover of Baltika in July.

The charges against Sherstennikov and Rogachevsky relate to fraud, a claim Carlsberg vehemently refuted. In a statement, the company expressed dismay, stating, “It is appalling that the efforts of the Russian state to justify their illegal takeover of our business in Russia has now evolved into targeting innocent employees.” Carlsberg emphasized its commitment to the safety of its employees, including those in Russia, and pledged support in these challenging circumstances.

Last month, Carlsberg’s CEO, Jacob Aarup-Andersen, accused the Kremlin of “stealing our business in Russia.” The Danish brewer had been in the process of selling Baltika Breweries as part of its exit from the Russian market when the government took control of the company.

Following the arrests, Carlsberg asserted that until the external management by the Russian state was introduced, Baltika had operated in compliance with the law and Carlsberg Group policies.

Investigations in St Petersburg allege that Sherstennikov and Rogachevsky obtained intellectual property rights for Carlsberg Kazakhstan and Vista BWay Co, previously owned by Baltika, “through deception.” These rights, estimated at over 295 million roubles (ยฃ2.65m), supposedly allowed Baltika to supply its products to several countries.

Baltika, with 8,400 employees across eight plants, produces well-known beer brands in Russia, including Kronenbourg 1664, Tuborg, Brooklyn, and Somersby cider.

Carlsberg had announced in October the termination of all license agreements with Baltika, but a legal appeal was reportedly made by Baltika to the arbitration court to prevent this termination. Carlsberg had refused to engage in a deal with the Russian government that would legitimize what it called the “illegal takeover” of its business.

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.
Tags: Carlsberg

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