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September 7, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Russian Police Thwart Fake Lubes Operation

Russian police shut down a business in an old warehouse in Togliatti, Samara Oblast, last week that allegedly manufactured counterfeit motor oils of popular brands.

The investigative committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Togliatti said the facility unlawfully manufactured and sold fake lubricants worth 800,000 rubles (U.S. $13,000).

In its Sept. 2 news release, the police said the suspected organizers used plastic canisters of different sizes and labeled them with popular motor oil brand names. The police also discovered a yard and a warehouse with stacked 200-liter barrels and 1,000-liter intermediate bulk containers.

The ministry’s website features a photo gallery showing containers of various sizes and barrels labeled with such brand names as SK’s Zic, ExxonMobil’s Mobil 1, and Russian brand Lukoil. One photo shows what looks like a manual filling line.

“In all, our officers on duty confiscated more than 50 intermediate bulk containers and more than 1,100, 200-liter barrels, all filled with unspecified oil,” the police said in its news release. “Also we discovered more than 1,200 plastic canisters of different sizes filled with liquids and labeled with popular motor oil brand names.”

Investigators are searching for the perpetrators and analyzing materials seized from the site.

Togliatti is known as Russia’s auto manufacturing hub and home of AvtoVaz, the country’s largest domestic car manufacturer.

In the past couple years, Ukrainian and Russian police raided several fake oil manufacturing operations.

Last December, Russian police raided a Moscow business accused of producing fake engine oils on an industrial scale and selling them across the country. The Russian interior ministry’s department for economic crimes and corruption said preliminary estimates showed an annual turnover of around 12 billion rubles. That bust followed similar raids of smaller operations in Novosibirsk and Irkutsk.

In August 2015 the Ukrainian police raided a fake oil production business in Rivne, western Ukraine, and in December 2014 officials closed similar activities in Vinnitsa.