Russian Carlsberg employees arrested after business seizure

A senior manager and the head of Carlsberg's Russian operations were both detained subsequent to the Kremlin's acquisition of the beer corporation in the nation.

Wednesday saw the detention of Denis Sherstennikov and Anton Rogachevsky, the leaders of Baltika Breweries, a Russian subsidiary of Carlsberg. It occurs one month after Carlsberg ceased operations in Russia as a result of the government's July acquisition of Baltika.

The two individuals are under suspicion of fraud. However, Carlsberg has refuted the accusations as false.

The organisation issued a statement condemning the Russian government's efforts to legitimise their unlawful seizure of the company in Russia, which have now expanded to include the harassment of innocent employees.

Additionally, the company stated that "ensuring the welfare of our employees, including those in Russia," "has always been our top priority" and that it would do everything in their power to assist them during these trying times. Jacob Aarup-Andersen, the CEO of Carlsberg, stated last month that the Kremlin had "stolen our business in Russia."

The Danish brewer was in the process of divesting Baltika Breweries in an effort to exit the Russian market prior to the company's seizure by the government.

In response to the arrests, Carlsberg issued the following statement: "Before the Russian government implemented external administration, Baltika operated in adherence to legal regulations and the policies that govern all Carlsberg Group companies."

According to sources, investigators have alleged that Mr. Sherstennikov and Mr. Rogachevsky "deceitfully" obtained intellectual property rights for the companies Carlsberg Kazakhstan and Vista BWay Co., which were previously owned by Baltika.

Mr. Sherstennikov, who according to their social media profiles is the chief executive officer of Baltika Breweries, formerly spent eight years at the Carlsberg Group. According to his profile, Mr. Rogachevsky is the vice president of legal affairs.

The rights, estimated to be worth over 295 million roubles (£2.65 million), allegedly allowed Baltika to distribute its products to Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Belarus, according to investigators in St. Petersburg.

According to Carlsberg's website, Baltika employs 8,400 people across eight facilities to manufacture some of the most recognisable beer brands in Russia.

The corporation possesses the cider brands Kronenbourg 1664, Tuborg, Brooklyn, and Somersby.

Since the incursion into Ukraine in February of last year, however, numerous Western corporations have been compelled to withdraw from Russia and cease operations.

Under an order signed by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin seized control of Baltika in July, as Carlsberg sought to transfer its Russian operations.

At the beginning of this year, Moscow implemented regulations permitting it to confiscate the assets of companies based in "hostile" nations.

Carlsberg notified Baltika in October that it had terminated all licence agreements pertaining to the production, marketing, and sale of its products in the country. However, the company added that a run-off period would continue until 1 April 2024, during which time extant inventory would be depleted.

Baltika filed an appeal with the arbitration court, petitioning for an injunction against Carlsberg's termination of the licencing agreement.

Mr. Aarup-Andersen had previously stated that the organisation declined to engage in a transaction with the Russian government that "legally justifies their takeover of our business."