Major Russian Fish Seller Denies Doubling Prices Days After Food Import Ban

Russian Sea, one of the country's biggest fish wholesalers, says its prices have increased but not doubled.

Russian Sea (Russkoye Morye), one of the country's biggest fish wholesalers, is in hot water, so to say, for raising its prices days after an embargo was imposed on European and American fish.

The company, a third of which was owned by reputed Putin ally Gennady Timchenko until he sold his stake amid Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis in March this year, says its prices have increased but not doubled, contrary to recent reports.

"We cannot confirm such a rise in prices," spokesman Ilya Bereznyuk told state news agency ITAR-Tass. "We are guided by prices on the international market."

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week imposed a ban on imported fish and other raw foods from countries already sanctioning Russia over its support of separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine, and he has warned domestic food companies not to take unfair advantage of domestic consumers.

Now, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has officially requested Russian Sea to prove that it is not price-gouging and to confirm that its plans comply with antitrust legislation, state news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Russian Fish Company, a distributor of Russian Sea products, said last week that the wholesaler's price of chilled salmon had increased "80-100 percent to 550-600 rubles [$15-$17] per kilogram," the FlashNord news agency reported last week.

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