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21 Mar, 2024 17:33

Russian court backs Dior in shoe smuggling case

A woman reportedly tried to illegally bring 30kg of footwear by the luxury brand into Russia
Russian court backs Dior in shoe smuggling case

A woman in Russia has been slapped with a fine for attempting to illegally import shoes from French luxury brand Christian Dior to the country, claiming they were gifts, the Ural Mash telegram channel reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, a woman identified only as Nigora was stopped by customs officers at Ekaterinburg’s Koltsovo airport on her way back from a vacation in Türkiye. Customs became suspicious of her luggage, which reportedly contained 30 kilograms of Dior slippers in a variety of different sizes. 

Asked about her intentions regarding the shoes, the woman claimed they were meant as gifts for guests at her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Customs officials found the story dubious and confiscated the whole bundle, issuing a fine.

When Dior learned of the story, the fashion house filed a lawsuit against the woman for trademark infringement. According to Mash, the company demanded she pay a fine of 436,000 rubles (around $4,750).

However, a Russian court reportedly reduced this amount to 17,000 rubles ($175), citing the woman’s low official income. Mash notes that the woman is a single mother with a reported salary of 30,000 rubles a month ($330). Mash did not specify which court handled the case.

Dior stores have been closed in Russia since its parent company LVMH announced it would halt its operations in the country in March 2022, amid Western sanctions placed on Moscow in connection with the Ukraine conflict. 

Many Western brands stopped supplying their goods to the country over the past two years, which has resulted in a surge of parallel imports, sometimes called ‘gray imports.’ The term refers to the practice in which a non-counterfeit product is imported to Russia without the official permission of the intellectual property owner via alternative supply channels.

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