Ukrainian confectionery firm Roshen has lost its appeal against the Russian court’s decision to seize assets of $80m.
Last month, the Moscow Tverskoi Court ruled to suspend Roshen’s Russian bank accounts and therefore production at the firm’s Lipetsk confectionery plant following a trademark dispute with part state-owned Russian firm United Confectioners. The Moscow City Court upheld the verdict, finding the asset seize of two billion Russian rubles and $15bn in each respective currency lawful on Russian soil.
The court told ConfectioneryNews that this interim measure was bought in light of a criminal case against Roshen owner Petro Poroshenko, who is also set to run for Ukrainian presidency.
Roshen defends the quality of its products following criticism from Russia’s federal
health and consumer watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor.
July 2013: Roshen in the dark over Russian import ban
Rospotrebnadzor suspends imports from Roshen amid safety concerns,
Roshen remains in the dark.
Roshen says Russia did not inspect their factories in connection with the safety allegations,
saying the tests looked exclusively at end products in Russia.
Moldova, Tadzhikistan, Kazakhstan and Belarus announce that their independent inspections of
Roshen chocolate found no health risks for consumers, despite accusations from Russia to the contrary.
November 2013: Roshen rubbishes Orkla takeover rumors
Roshen denies Russian news reports that it will sell the company to Norwegian group Orkla.
November 2013: Russia lifts ban on Roshen chocolate
Roshen says it will be allowed to sell products in Russia again following the ban.
Russia seizes Roshen’s Russian factories.
Ukrainian government bans certain candy and chocolate products from part Russian state-owned firm
Lawful and enforceable
“On 14 May 2014, the Moscow City Court heard the appeal of the ruling of the Tverskoy District Court of the City of Moscow from 12 March 2014, and the ruling was left unchanged. Thus, in accordance with current Russian legislation, the decision to freeze the accounts is recognized as lawful and is subject to enforcement on Russian territory,” Ulyana Solopova, head of Moscow City Court's press service told us.
Back in March when Russian authorities first froze Roshen assets in Russian banks and its two factories in Lipetsk, Roshen’s director of PR Inna Petrenko told us: “The production is on hold. They didn’t force us to close, but we couldn’t continue.”
The dispute forms the latest chapter in an economic feud stretching back to last summer when the Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor banned Roshen chocolate imports on the grounds of alleged safety concerns shortly after the Ukrainian government okayed an import tax on cars that threatened to hurt Russian exports. The showdown comes at a time of great political volatility for Ukraine, as it finds itself in a game of tug of war between Europe and Russia.
Trade disputes and politics
Previously a Euromonitor analyst told us Roshen's fate rests on the outcome of this political wrangling, as its Russia-sceptic owner, Petro Poroshenko, readies to run for the Ukrainian presidency. In a press conference on Wednesday, Interfax Ukraine reported Poroshenko as saying: “This is the confirmation of the fact that the policy I stick to is pro-Ukrainian.”
Adding: “I believe that this is the sign that I do everything right.”
He said that Russia had disregarded the World Trade Organization (WTO), which he said he had been trying to use to mediate the trade dispute.
An electronic copy of the Moscow City Court ruling will be available on its website soon, it said.