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Russia Accuses PepsiCo of 'Commercial Espionage'

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Russia’s state agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor accused PepsiCo this week of stealing its internal documents and engaging in “commercial espionage.”

The saga began Monday when Rosselkhoznadzor published a report on its website claiming that the American multinational illegally obtained access to its internal service documents. Rosselkhoznadzor learned of the crime, the report said, when a PepsiCo executive showed a copy of a document marked for “internal use” at a meeting with the agency.

“The document was not sent to PepsiCo," Rosselkhoznadzor’s report read. "This fact indicates that the American company uses illegal methods of obtaining information from government agencies.”

Rosselkhoznadzor representative Yulia Melano told the RBC business portal on Tuesday that the document gave PepsiCo a competitive advantage over other companies in Russia.

On Tuesday, Pepsi's Vice President Sergei Glushkov — the executive cited in the report — answered the allegations.

PepsiCo "categorically rejects the absurd assumptions of Rosselkhoznadzor," Glushkov was cited as saying by RBC.

“They do not have any grounds for the claim.”

Late last month, the state agency said it found antibiotics in the cheese of one of PepsiCo’s subsidiaries and prohibited it from being sold. PepsiCo denied the claims and said it was considering legal action.

“We are considering turning to law enforcement agencies and the court to protect our legal interests,” Glushkov was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency at the time.

Russia’s Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev told journalists on Wednesday that the conflict would be resolved soon, RBC reported.

“[The conflict] will be exhausted in the coming days, and maybe even hours,” he said.

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