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March 12, 2003

RUSSIA: Interpol launches hunt for Stolichnaya boss

Interpol, the European police organisation, has agreed to a request from Russian authorities to help locate the missing vodka magnate Yury Shefler, wanted by Russian prosecutors in connection with allegations of threatening to kill a government official.

By Mark Rowe

Interpol, the European police organisation, has agreed to a request from Russian authorities to help locate the missing vodka magnate Yury Shefler, wanted by Russian prosecutors in connection with allegations of threatening to kill a government official.

Shefler is the owner of Soyuzplodimport, the private vodka company currently battling with the Russian state for ownership of Russia’s vodka brands, including the world’s largest selling vodka Stolichnaya.

A spokesman for the organisation’s Moscow bureau confirmed that Interpol offices across Western Europe were now liasing in the search for Shefler.

Though he denied claims by Russian authorities that Shefler had been placed on Interpol’s most wanted list, he said the search was classified as just short of a full-blown manhunt. “Interpol is trying to clarify which country Shefler is in,” he said. “Then the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office can take whatever measure it deems necessary.”

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