April 28, 2015 / 4:33 PM / 3 years ago

Ukrainian leader's firm says assets seized in Russia

KIEV (Reuters) - Russian authorities have seized the assets of a confectionery factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Russian city of Lipetsk in order to block their sale, parent company Roshen said on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a news conference after a signing ceremony with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan in Kiev March 20, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Since March 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and pro-Russian rebels rose up in eastern Ukraine, the Lipetsk plant has been raided by armed police, boycotted and accused by Russian politicians of supporting extremism.

“It is safe to say the Russian side is deliberately taking all possible steps to prevent the company selling its assets in Russia,” Roshen said in a statement. It said it would appeal against a decision by a Russian court to seize the assets, which it valued at 2 billion rubles ($39 million).

Poroshenko, nicknamed the Chocolate King, promised when he was elected last May to sell Roshen, which takes its name from the middle two syllables of his surname and had pre-crisis annual sales of $1.2 billion. [ID:nL6N0RG1GE]

However the eastern conflict and resulting economic crisis are likely to have complicated the sales process and no deals have yet been announced.

($1 = 51.4080 rubles)

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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