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17 Nov 2023

Bloomberg News

Russia: Authorities detain two former Carlsberg executives on suspicion of fraud

Russia detains former Carlsberg executives as row deepens, 16 November 2023

Russia has detained two former executives from Carlsberg A/S who managed the Baltika Brewing Co. before it was seized by the state and accused them of fraud.

The investigators asked a St. Petersburg court to place Denis Sherstennikov and Anton Rogachevsky under arrest on suspicion of fraud, the court said...The managers have been detained, Fontanka media reported.

The investigators allege that the two men transferred Baltika’s intellectual property rights worth at least 295.6 million rubles ($3.3 million) to Carlsberg Kazakhstan LLP and another unit for nearly two decades, according to the court’s statement.

Baltika’s press service didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In June, Russia seized control of Baltika, the local subsidiary of Carlsberg, under a presidential decree that allows for the assets of companies or individuals from “unfriendly” nations to be taken over by the state. Before the seizure, Carlsberg had been trying to divest its Russian business. The Federal Property Management Agency later appointed Putin’s ally Taimuraz Bolloyev to lead Baltika.

Sherstennikov was Baltika’s president and Rogachevsky was his deputy.

The court’s press service didn’t disclose the details, but said that the licenses at issue concern the export of products to seven countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus.

Last month, Carlsberg said it will terminate all license agreements to sell its beer brands in Russia and that it sees no path to a negotiated exit from the country after the asset seizure. Russia is challenging this decision in court...