Recently opened Estonian Domino's Pizza franchise is making waves with its Russian ties and the Russian cartoons showed in the restaurant
Domino's, an American pizza giant with over 60 years of history, operates in Estonia through a franchise model. While the headquarters designs the brand, concept, and specific guidelines for making dough, the local entrepreneur sets up the pizza shops, following the rules provided. This franchise model is already successful in other Baltic states.
The rights for the Baltic franchise belong to Morgacita Limited, a company registered in Cyprus. In Estonia, business is conducted under the name D-Pizza OÜ. According to the business registry, Morgacita owns 25%, while the remaining 75% is owned by Jolanta Jurova, who manages pizza businesses in Latvia and Lithuania as well.
The registration of Morgacita in Cyprus raises questions about its ties to Russia, writes Eesti Ekspress. Officially, the company has two leaders with Greek-sounding names, each having connections with 143 and 674 other companies, respectively. This suggests they might be professional figureheads.
Until last summer, Mihhail Tihhomirov was part of Morgacita's board. He is a Cyprus citizen known for posing with fishing pictures on Facebook, presenting himself as an entrepreneur. Tihhomirov is linked to various ventures in Cyprus, one of them being VX3 Holding, sharing the same address and directors as Solian Enterprises. The latter owns the online gaming platform Veni Vidi Vici Gaming, promising gamers opportunities to earn real money through tournaments.
LinkedIn profiles of VX3 Holding executives indicate Moscow as the company's location. Besides Tihhomirov, several individuals with Russian residency and backgrounds are found on the board.
Tihhomirov is identified as one of Morgacita's owners based on public sources. Another beneficiary, Georgi Rogazinski, also a Cyprus citizen, has connections to a Seychelles shell company and a Moscow apartment, according to leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm.
Rogazinski was a co-owner of the Belarusian Rublyovski chain. When the media reported its sale in 2018 to food entrepreneur Aleksandr Mošenski, Rublyovski had 73 stores in major Belarusian cities, including 53 in Minsk.
In the Estonian branch of the pizza chain, the continuous showing of the Russian animated series "Джинглики" is raising eyebrows. This peculiar choice might lead to conflicts and negative feedback, especially from customers who do not support Russian content due to geopolitical reasons. While the main Domino's headquarters might be unaware of the specific content being aired in a distant branch, the global corporation must acknowledge that today's consumers are increasingly conscious of companies' activities and ethical choices. This awareness could lead people to support institutions offering less controversial entertainment options.