McDonald’s Says Russia Inspecting More Than 200 Outlets

Russian consumer-safety regulators are conducting inspections at more than 200 McDonald’s Corp. restaurants around the country.

Russian courts have temporarily closed nine restaurants, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in a statement on its Russian corporate website. McDonald’s said it disagreed with the decisions and that it will appeal to a higher court.

McDonald’s arrived in Soviet-era Russia in 1990 and was seen as a symbol of the nation’s rising prospects, helping open the communist nation to foreign enterprise. While regulators have cited violations of sanitary rules by McDonald’s, the timing and scope of the shutdowns are seen as a response to Western sanctions in Russia.

The original restaurant in Moscow’s Pushkin square, which drew long lines when it first opened, is currently shut under the court order.

The U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions against Russian companies and officials after President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea earlier this year, escalating the worst standoff between the two sides since the Cold War. In response to the sanctions, Putin banned $9.5 billion in food imports from Western countries.

McDonald’s has more than 35,600 restaurants worldwide, with 440 in Russia as of the end of August. The shares of the company rose 1.3 percent to $91.04 at the close in New York on Oct. 17.

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