The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - February 21

The Russian Olympic delegation in Turin has been accused of shipping large quantities of black caviar into Italy and breaking international environmental conventions. The Russian delegation organized lavish parties at the Russian House in Turin to mark its Olympics successes and had 25 to 100 kilograms of black caviar shipped in for the celebrations, Kommersant reported last week.

Luxury goods company Bosco di Ciliegi, the delegation's sponsor, confirmed that it had brought the caviar to Italy, but denied any wrongdoing. A Moscow spokeswoman for Bosco on Monday would not confirm the company had been involved in transporting any caviar to Italy and redirected all questions to the Russian House. Repeated calls to the Russian House in Turin went unanswered Monday.

The World Wildlife Fund says the transportation of the rare sturgeon caviar was against the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna, or Cites.

"Sturgeon caviar can be exported only with a special permit or in accordance with an export quota. However, at the moment, the sturgeon caviar export quota is set at zero, while the Cites office in Russia did not issue the necessary permits for the caviar to be flown to Italy," the WWF's office in Russia said in a statement last week.