SPI group is in dispute with the Russian government over ownership of Stolichnaya vodka.

The government insists it owns the best-selling vodka brand, but SPI Group says it is reneging on a legal privatisation agreement made in 1992.

The government has impounded 180,000 cases of the vodka at Kaliningrad, where they were bound for export.

Allied Domecq has distributed the vodka in the US since 2000.

SPI Group has appealed to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture to stop impounding exports.

It has told delegates to the Russian Economic Forum, held in London this week, that such policies will discourage foreign investment in the country. SPI will also be asking the US government to take action against the Russians.

The Daily Telegraph 17/2/01 page 27