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Russia Probes U.S. Chocolate Giant Mars for Funding Ukraine Army

Mars scaled back its Russia-based operations last year. FightinG FalcoN (CC BY 3.0)

Russian authorities are investigating the U.S. food and chocolate maker Mars Inc. on suspicion of financing the Ukrainian armed forces, state media reported Friday, citing anonymous law enforcement sources.

Prosecutors in the Moscow region are carrying out a probe into Mars’ compliance with Russian tax laws, as well as allegations that the company provided financial support to the Ukrainian military, according to the TASS news agency.

Mars was among the hundreds of Western businesses to scale back its operations and suspend investments in Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

TASS reported that Russia’s investigation into Mars was made at the request of activist Vitaly Borodin, who has gained notoriety for denouncing anti-war pop culture figures and independent media organizations.

Borodin claimed — without evidence — that Mars funneled its Russian earnings to the Ukrainian military under the guise of humanitarian aid, according to TASS.

Mars said in May it had donated $25.5 million to feed, shelter and rehabilitate Ukrainians and their pets through international charities and organizations.

Mars, the maker of Snickers and Mars chocolate bars, M&Ms, Wrigley’s chewing gum and Pedigree pet food, has not yet commented on the reported Russian inspection.

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