The Ukrainian offices of well-known global brands, including the company Roshen, are supplying their products to the unrecognized Transdniestria. This was referred to in an investigation by journalists from the Moldovan publication RISE Moldova.
According to the investigation, the Ukrainian branches of Coca-Cola and Nestle, as well as President Petro Poroshenko’s company Roshen, are among the largest exporters of goods to the Moldovan Transdniestrian Republic. Their main trading partner is the Transdniestrian LLC Sheriff, which belongs to the Transdniestrian oligarch Viktor Gushan.
"A significant part of the Transdniestrian industrial economy and the vast majority of the local political elite depend on Sheriff holding, [which can be called] one of the main beneficiaries of the existence of the [self-proclaimed Moldovan Transdniestrian Republic]," the newspaper writes.
According to the investigation, from the year 2014 through the first half of 2017, Roshen conducted about $3 million in business with Sheriff. Moreover, according to the journalists, all goods were sent directly to Transdniestria; that is, bypassing Moldovan controls.
Thus, the statistics maintained by Moldovan customs do not contain official data on the imports of goods from Ukraine. However, the journalists found access to export transactions from Ukraine, and, having analyzed more than half a million such transactions from Ukraine, created a list of Sheriff’s twenty largest trading partners for the period of 2016 and the first half of 2017.
"Nestle Ukraine Ltd is the official distributor of the famous Nescafe and Nesquik brands. And for this company, for three and a half years, between 2014 [The year of the annexation of the Crimea and the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine – ed.] and 2017, the value of Sheriff's trade deals amounts to about $ 4 million… According to Ukrainian customs data, from 2014 until mid-2017, Coca-Cola Beverages Ukraine Ltd's total trade value with Sheriff was about one million dollars,” the investigation said. Coca-Cola itself has denied the allegations of exporting in Transdniestria.
The authors of the investigation have calculated that since 2014, nearly 300 Ukrainian companies have conducted trade dealings with just one LLC, Sheriff, worth more than $100 million in total.
“For a quarter of a century, at the 12 points of crossing the Moldovan-Ukrainian border (along the Odessa region), alongside border guards and Ukrainian customs officers, customs control has been carried out by the security forces of the autonomous so-called Transdniestrian Republic, while the Moldovan authorities are excluded from this equation,” the newspaper writes. This is due to several reasons, including Moldova’s reluctance to escalate the conflict with Tiraspol.
According to Yulia Marushevska, former head of the Odessa customs service, "the lack of common Moldovan-Ukrainian control points is a geopolitical problem that the unrecognized authorities in Tiraspol and Moscow [find] suitable”.