The “Masandra” winery in the Russian-occupied Crimea was purchased by the company “Southern Project.”

The sale of “Masandra” was announced by Russian media referring to data on the official portal for posting information about the auction. It was noted that the plant had been sold for 5.327 billion rubles ($73 million) under a starting price of 5.3 billion rubles.

The tender winner is the company “Southern Project,” which is 99.9% owned by the bank “Russia.” One of the founders of the bank and the largest shareholder is a friend of the actual President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin: Yuriy Kovalchuk.

In March 2014, Kovalchuk became the subject of US financial and visa sanctions against Russian citizens involved in the Crimea occupation. The US Treasury Department statement said that Kovalchuk enters Putin’s “closest circle.” Besides, the financier is called the “cashier” of Russia’s President.

To recap, Ukraine’s presidential representative office in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea sent to the prosecutor’s office of the Crimea, controlled by Ukraine, information about the sale of the “Masandra” enterprise, which belongs to the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy one day before the auction.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed protest due to the illegal winery sale. The Foreign Ministry said that Russia was violating the rules of international humanitarian law, according to which the occupying power should not allow the “privatisation” of property, and declared the “Masandra” sale a crime.

Bohdan Marusyak

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