The retail chain Dia (Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación), owned by Russian billionaire and co-owner of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman, is obliged to pay a fine of 6.8 million euros to the Spanish treasury. This decision of the Ministry of Agriculture, challenged by Dia’s lawyers, was confirmed first in the National Court of Justice of Spain (NCJI), and then – on January 17, 2022 – and in the Supreme Court (SC) of the country. The fine, according to the SC ruling in file with DW, was imposed for repeated violations of the Food Value Chain Act.
According to the complaint of Dia partners
The third branch of the Spanish Armed Forces, which dealt with the case, recalls that the fine was imposed after due investigation and on the complaint of Dia’s partners, represented by the Patronage of the Food Industry and several other organizations of food producers. As it turned out, the trading network committed 86 “gross violations” of the law. Specifically, she “disclosed confidential commercial information, required partners to change prices stipulated by contracts, and changed other agreements without their consent.”
In particular, according to the court ruling, Dia, “without the consent of partners – manufacturers and wholesalers – and proceeding only from its own interests, made public data on prices and other conditions of contracts.” These actions, which harmed Dia’s partners, are “punishable under section 23.1 of the Food Value Chain Law,” the Supreme Court’s ruling stressed.
Friedman and Spanish Justice
According to the Spanish publication El Economista, Friedman currently owns 77.7% of the shares of Dia, which gives him the right to fully control the activities of the trading network. It is present in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Argentina. In Spain alone, Dia has nearly 4,000 stores. Since 2017, Friedman has invested more than 2.2 billion euros in the network, according to another economic publication, Cinco Dias.
Meanwhile, the El Confidential newspaper recalls that Friedman’s name has long been familiar to Spanish justice. So, since 2019, the NSPI has been investigating the case of his alleged participation in the ruin of a business partner – the Spanish company Zed WorldWide operating in the field of mobile communications and Internet entertainment – in order to acquire it at a low price.
The case was closed in February 2021 and then reopened. According to the newspaper, the Spanish Themis believes that there are grounds to suspect Friedman of such offenses as “belonging to a criminal community, disloyal administration, misappropriation of property, punishable insolvency and corruption in business.”