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Ukraine slaps Bacardi with the label “international war sponsor” for exporting to Russia

Bacardi, the world’s largest privately owned liquor company with U.S. headquarters in Coral Gables, has been sanctioned by Ukraine for expanding its operations in Russia, a move the Ukrainian government says has provided economic support to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against the country.

Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption on Thursday placed Bacardi Limited, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, on its list of “international war sponsors”, accusing the company of supporting the Russian economy and sponsoring “aggression against Ukraine”.

“Following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bacardi continues to ship millions of dollars worth of products to Russia and hire new employees there,” the agency said in a statement, adding that the company has paid more than $12 million in income taxes to Russia. .

The designation as an international war sponsor has no legal consequences such as a freezing of assets or a travel ban. Yet it is designed to disgrace and damage the reputation of large international companies that continue to do business with Russia during the war. The list currently includes 32 companies, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

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Bacardi did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Miami Herald.

The inclusion in Ukraine’s blacklist comes three days after the Wall Street Journal detailed how the company failed to honor an early promise to halt exports to Russia shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began. Instead, Bacardi’s Russian company, Bacardi Rus LLC, imported $169 million worth of products between June 2022 and June this year. Bacardi Rus also reported a $314 million increase in sales last year.

Other direct competitors like Pernod Ricard, the distributor of Havana Club rum – whose trademark has been the subject of a bitter legal dispute between Bacardi and Cuba’s state-run Cubaexport – have left the Russian market after the invasion of Ukraine.

Founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1862 by Facundo Bacardí Masó, Bacardi sells its namesake rum and other well-known brands such as Gray Goose vodka, Patron tequila and Martini vermouth in more than 170 countries, according to its website. The family went into exile after Fidel Castro seized their assets without compensation in 1960, but continued to produce rum at distilleries in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. In 1965, the company opened an office in Miami and moved to its current location in Coral Gables in 2006.

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