Pernod Ricard has remained silent on local reports suggesting a Russian oligarch may be looking at buying Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya.

Press speculation in the country this week has claimed that Oleg Deripaska, who was ranked at number 62 in Forbes' World's richest people chart last year, may look to buy Stolichnaya from current Russian owner Yuri Shefler.

Pernod handles the distribution of Stolichnaya outside Russia for Shefler's SPI Group, and is in talks with the company to acquire the vodka brand outright.

When contacted by just-drinks today (12 September), a spokesperson for Pernod's Stolichnaya Brand Organisation declined to comment on the claims.

Local reports have also suggested that Deripaska, who made his millions from aluminium in Russia, could be acting in the interests of state-owned Soyuzplodoimport, which holds the Stolichnaya trademark in Russia. Soyuzplodoimport has been fighting to regain control of the global rights since it sold the brand to SPI for US$300,000 in 1997.