Russian Courts Uphold Closure of McDonald's Branches
Russia's consumer watchdog agency is forcing the American fast-food chain to temporarily close eight more outlets across the country over accusations of sanitary violations, bringing the total closur e count to 12. All are owned by the company.
Earlier in the month, the regulator made McDonald's close four restaurants, including its flagship outlet in Moscow that first opened to the public in 1990.
It's widely suspected that the closures are politically motivated. Many American and European companies are under pressure in Russia as Cold War-style tensions make it increasingly difficult for Western brands to operate
McDonald's is also facing a lawsuit from Rospotrebnadzor in a Moscow court. The regulator is seeking a ban on some of the chain's most popular hamburgers and milkshakes after the regulator said it uncovered alleged food-safety violations in two branches in northern Russia. A hearing that had been scheduled for Aug. 13 has been postponed until Sept. 11.
The closure of the Moscow restaurants kick-started a flurry of unscheduled inspections of McDonald's restaurants across the country, but last week Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said there were no plans for an inspection of the whole chain. The head of the regulator, Anna Popova, also brushed off accusations that the inspections and closures were politically motivated.