MOSCOW Aug 22 Russian authorities extended
their scrutiny of McDonald's on Friday to the
semi-autonomous republic of Tatarstan, carrying out sanitary
inspections at several restaurants run by the U.S. fast food
The country's food safety watchdog said it had no plans to
close down the firm's business there, two days after the agency
shuttered three McDonald's branches in Moscow.
Coming against a backdrop of strained U.S.-Russian relations
over Moscow's perceived role in the Ukraine crisis, the checks
have been viewed by many businessmen as retaliation for Western
sanctions which they fear could spread to other symbols of
An agency spokeswoman in Tatarstan's largest city, Kazan,
said checks were under way at McDonald's, which has 17
restaurants in the region - one of the highest concentrations in
Russia outside Moscow and St Petersburg.
"We are making checks there. There are some irregularities
and we are likely to punish them, but we will not close down
their restaurants," she said.
McDonald's operates 440 restaurants in Russia and considers
the country one of its top seven markets outside the United
States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report. Almost 1
million people a day use its restaurants in Russia.
In Tatarstan, some 1,500 people work for the fast-food
A McDonald's Russia spokeswoman said earlier this week the
firm was aware of the situation and "have always been and are
now open to any checks."
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alexander Winning
and John Stonestreet)