SPAIN’S Dia supermarket chain says its business as usual despite its key figure getting onto an EU Russian oligarch blacklist in wake of the invasion of the Ukraine.

The struggling retailer on Tuesday reported a €257 million loss for 2021 across its outlets in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal, after an intensive period of restructuring and store closures.

Dia was taken over by the LetterOne investment company(LIHS) in 2019 after a two-year battle to secure a majority shareholding.

Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, 57, co-founded LIHS who hold 78% of Dia’s shares.

Just hours on Monday after Fridman’s name was included in an EU sanctions blacklist of oligarchs, Dia issued a statement saying they were ‘not controlled’ by Fridman or LIHS co-founder, Petr Aven, who has also been blacklisted.

The retailer said that despite LIHS having the majority shareholding in Dia, it claimed that ‘no individual shareholder controls LIHS’.

“Accordingly, the firm considers it is not affected in any way, either directly or indirectly (by the aforementioned individuals who do not control LIHS or, therefore, Dia), by the new package of sanctions,” it said in a statement.

In a message to LetterOne employees on Sunday, Mikhail Fridman, said that ‘war can never be the answer’ and pleaded for an end to ‘bloodshed’.

Fridman, who was born in the Ukraine added: “This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.”


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