The prosecutors are also looking into the Mars company tax returns, according to the agency
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Moscow Region is checking if US food company Mars has been giving money to the Ukrainian military amid the conflict with Russia, Tass news agency has reported.
The prosecutors are “currently… carrying out an inspection into the illegal activities of Mars,” a representative of law enforcement bodies told the agency on Friday.
The producer of Snickers, M&M’s and other treats “is being probed for providing financial support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” he said.
According to Tass’ sources, the prosecutors are also looking into the earnings made by the Russian branch of Mars and how they correlate with the tax payments made by the company.
Last week, the head of the Federal Security and Anti-Corruption Project Vitaly Borodin requested the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office carry out an audit of Mars. The activist claimed that the company has been making billions in Russia while sponsoring Ukraine and, potentially, the Ukrainian armed forces under the guise of humanitarian assistance.
A few weeks after the launch of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, then CEO of Mars Grant Reid said that the company was stopping all advertising campaigns in Russia and putting investments in the country on hold.
However, the food maker’s factories kept working in Russia, with their products being widely available in shops across the country. According to Bloomberg, Mars earned 177 billion rubles (around $16.3 billion) in Russia last year, a 14% increase over 2021.
In May, Mars announced another donation of $13.5 million “to help people and their pets on the ground in Ukraine.” It said that the funds will be distributed through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and other international organizations.
The contribution was in addition to another $12 million provided by the company for relief efforts in Ukraine earlier in the conflict.
“We continue to be saddened by Russia’s horrible war in Ukraine. We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine… who have shown remarkable resilience and bravery under circumstances no one should ever have to experience,” the statement by Mars read.
July 07, 2023 at 03:38PM