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December 16, 2015

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Siberia Fights Fake Motor Oil

Russian authorities and a civil organization have uncovered a pattern of illegal production and sale of fake motor oils in the city of Novosibirsk. Separately, Irkutsk police announced a large seizure of counterfeit lubes.

Officials from the Russian Ministry of Transportation and the Moscow-based Association of Auto-Moto Professionals conducted surprise checks during visits earlier this month to several fuel stations and retail sites in Novosibirsk. Novosibirsk is a large industrial center in Southern Siberia and the third-most populous city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

“According to the lab tests conducted by our association, at least 50 percent of the gasoline and up to 90 percent of the diesel fuels sold there are fake and of very low quality,” Alexey Nosov, head of the ministry’s civil council, said in a Dec. 4 press release. “Furthermore, we discovered that at least 50 percent of the finished motor oil sold in the same places is counterfeited.”

The association took samples from packages labeled as 5W- and 10W-40 motor oils from Shell, Castrol and ExxonMobil, three of the most popular brands Russia, and compared them to oils confirmed to be from those companies. “Literally, every second canister sold here is fake,” Nosov said. “As a result of the criminal activities in the region’s finished fuel and lubricants market, state road funds have been deprived of hundreds of billions of rubles in payback taxes.”

Both the transportation ministry and the association informed the Federal Road Agency and law enforcement officials to take action and stop this illegal practice.

In Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Eastern Siberia, law enforcement officers confiscated 10 metric tons of fake engine oil sold in the area bearing labels of various popular brands. “In a warehouse we discovered many 200-liter barrels filled with fake motor oil. At the moment, the confiscated products [are being examined by a laboratory], and after the results are done we plan to open a criminal case against the involved company,” regional police in Irkutsk said in a recent press release.