Russia: Decathlon continued to deliver clothes to the buyer of its stores, according to the media Disclose

The French sporting and leisure goods group Decathlon continued to deliver clothing to the Russian buyer of its stores, notably through a “shell company” in Dubai, according to an investigation published Tuesday by the media Disclose. While most Western groups left the country after the start of the war in Ukraine, Decathlon, for example, delivered Kalenji jogging jackets, Wedze ski jackets and Quechua pants and shoes to Russian Desport stores, for a total of of at least 12 million dollars (around 11 million euros).

The Mulliez group is one of the rare French groups to have maintained its activities in Russia

These products were transported in November by plane from Bangladesh, where they are produced, via Dubai, where a front company bought the products, according to internal documents and testimonies collected by Disclose. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 triggered unprecedented sanctions and an exodus of foreign companies. The export of arms, luxury items or goods that could contribute to strengthening Russian industrial capabilities are, in particular, firmly prohibited by Europe. Sporting articles are not affected by these measures.

The Mulliez group, owner of Decathlon, is one of the rare French groups to have maintained its activities in Russia. In particular, he kept Auchan there, which generates more than 10% of its sales there. A few weeks after the start of the war, Decathlon announced that it was suspending the commercial activities of its stores and its website in Russia. More than a year later, in the summer of 2023, the distributor finally received approval from local authorities to resell 36 stores to a Russian company, ARM.

Singapore, Dubai, Russia

But when they reopened in November, Decathlon products were available in these stores, according to images seen on Russian social media. According to documents consulted by Disclose, the group urgently ordered goods from its Asian suppliers. To avoid the shipments being blocked at customs, a Decathlon subsidiary based in Singapore purchased them and transported them through Dubai.

The management of Decathlon, which did not wish to speak on Monday evening, told Disclose that it was “doing everything possible to stop the resale, on the territory of the Russian Federation, of (its) products”. The European Union adopted on Monday a twelfth package of sanctions against Russia, which notably includes a ban on imports of Russian diamonds into the EU.

Source link -75