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Russia probes McDonald's children charity

08 october 2014, 17:18

 Russian prosecutors have launched a probe into a charitable fund run by the McDonald's restaurant chain, the organisation's director said Wednesday, AFP reports.

The move is the latest crackdown on operations linked to the popular US fast food chain after Russian officials closed a string of restaurants in August on health grounds.

"On October 7, the Moscow prosecutors requested that we present documents confirming the status of the work of the Ronald McDonald House charitable fund and our financial activities for 2013-2014," Svetlana Polyakova, general director of the charity in Russia told AFP.

She dismissed any claims against the fund, which runs health projects for children around Russia, as "unreasonable" and said that the organisation had complied with all its legal requirements.

"As far as the fund's work is concerned, I want to underline that its basic aim is to help children who need support," Polyakova said.

The probe was sparked by a request from a pro-Kremlin lawmaker to investigate possible financial irregularities by the fund.

"The fund's expenditure that we found on open sources, including its website, does not correspond to its income," deputy Andrei Krutov told radio station Echo of Moscow.

The pressure against McDonald's comes hot on the heels of the West ratcheting up sanctions on Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis -- and Russia banning most US and EU food imports in retaliation.

Krutov, however, denied that the request to probe the McDonald's fund was linked to current international tensions or Western sanctions.

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