A very lucrative illegal counterfeit engine oil business was exposed last month in the Russian capital city, a ring that generated profits of around 160 million dollars a year.
You will have to be extra careful from now on when you plan to change the oil on your car, especially in Russia, as massive quantities of counterfeit engine lubricants flooded the country last year. Fortunately, the Moscow police have managed to put an end to such lucrative illegal business, busting those responsible for it. The operations were conducted from some abandoned storage units in the capital’s suburbs, involving illegal labor force and illegal immigrants with no residence permits in Russia. The ring was well planned, as the “production facility” filled some plastic canisters brought from Belarus with cheap oil, to be subsequently branded with famous engine oil manufacturers labels such as Shell, Mobil, Elf, Castrol, BP, Elf, Liqui Moly, and also engine oil for BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and GM. Around 70 tons of cheap motor oil in more than 80,000 canisters have been found by the police at the “factory”.
A regular consumer would not notice it bought fake engine oil, as the containers were designed to look exactly like an OEM product. And the proof lies in the massive profits generated by this type of business. Even if the authorities’ report did not mention for how long the counterfeiters have been involved in such operations, according to the Russian interior ministry’s department for economic crimes and corruption, the scammers made around 1 billion rubles monthly or around 13 million dollars. The Russian officials said the canisters filled with fake oil were sold to different auto parts shows in Moscow. It is presumed that the counterfeit products have also ended up in auto shops, but it is yet unknown whether this illegal business has spread over Russia’s boarders into neighboring countries.