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Russian Court Upholds McDonald's Closure in Moscow as Crackdown Continues

A Moscow court on Wednesday refused to reverse its earlier decision to close a McDonald's restaurant on Prospekt Mira for 90 days due to hygiene infringements, Interfax reported.

Russia's Federal Consumer Protection Service last month initiated nationwide inspections of McDonald's outlets, leading to at least a dozen closures over sanitary violations, in a move seen by many as punishment for Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.

The crackdown continues — the latest closure was of a restaurant in Yekaterinburg, the second McDonald's in that city to be shuttered so far.

The watchdog last month temporarily shut the outlet on Prospekt Mira, a busy thoroughfare in northern Moscow, as well as two of the city's other McDonald's restaurants, and a week later Moscow courts ruled that the offending eateries must close for three months.  

McDonald's, which has more than 400 restaurant in Russia, has not taken the news lying down. Its spokeswoman, Svetlana Polyakova, said last week that the problems at the three shuttered restaurants in Moscow had been addressed and that the company had asked the courts to revoke the suspension order.

But during follow-up inspections last Wednesday, the watchdog found that not all of the infringements had been dealt with at the restaurants in question, Interfax reported.

McDonald's said this week revenue in Europe, where Russia is one of its best-performing markets, was down 0.7 percent in the August.

Off the back of the latest checks, the Tverskaya District Court on Friday refused to overturn its decision to close the McDonald's outlets on Manezh Square and Pushkin Square — the first to open in Russia and the busiest McDonald's restaurant in the world  — and on Wednesday the Ostankino District Court passed the same verdict on the Prospekt Mira branch.

The U.S. fast-food giant disagreed with Wednesday's ruling and will prepare a new appeal, Irina Korshunova, head of McDonald's Moscow's food safety department, was quoted as saying.

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