Russia detains two senior employees at seized Carlsberg business
Danish brewer slams ‘fake’ allegations against Baltika Breweries’ CEO and head of legal and part of Moscow's move to 'steal' the business
Copenhagen — Russian authorities have detained two senior employees from Carlsberg’s Moscow-controlled subsidiary, Baltika Breweries, over allegations of fraud, and made similar claims against several others, Danish brewer Carlsberg said on Thursday.
The company said in a statement the allegations were fake.
Moscow in July took control of Carlsberg’s stake in Baltika through a presidential decree by Vladimir Putin, saying it would put the foreign-owned stake under “temporary management”.
CEO Jacob Aarup-Andersen last month said Russia had “stolen” its business, adding the group had cut all ties with its Russian business and refused to enter a deal with Russia’s government that would make its seizure of the assets look legitimate.
“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 said in a statement.
The Vyborgsky district court on Wednesday ruled that Denis Sherstennikov and Anton Rogachevsky be remanded in custody on charges of large-scale fraud, accusing them and other unidentified people of having used their position at Baltika to transfer some intellectual property rights to Carlsberg as the Russian state assumed control of the brewer.
The two men could not immediately be reached for comment. According to their Linkedin profiles, Sherstennikov is CEO of Baltika Breweries and Rogachevsky is vice-president of legal department.
“The allegations reported in Russian media are fake,” Carlsberg said.
Large-scale fraud can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Police in St Petersburg and Baltika did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Baltika is suing Carlsberg in Russia, seeking to retain the right to use the Danish brewer’s trademarks. On Wednesday, a St Petersburg court granted Baltika’s request to hold proceedings behind closed doors, citing the need to protect trade secrets, Russian news agencies reported.
Carlsberg has informed Baltika that the licence agreements enabling it to produce, market and sell all Carlsberg Group products, including international and regional brands, have been terminated.
Executives have said repercussions for local staff were among the top concerns for companies trying to negotiate an exit from Russia.
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