Diplomatic row brews over Russia pavilion at Expo

Italian embassy in Moscow to step in over unpaid bills.

Rome’s ambassador to Moscow, Cesare Maria Ragaglini, has been prompted to make a démarche on behalf of several Italian companies protesting that Russia has not paid its invoices for work carried out on its national pavilion at Expo Milan 2015.

The bills – reported to total almost a million euros – were rejected in June by RVS Holding, the Russian company managing the pavilion, claiming that the work done was “incomplete and faulty“. Milan tribunal called in a professional expert – at the Russians’ expense – to investigate the claim, and he pronounced the work professionally carried out, “apart from faults and blemishes of minor scope”.

Expo Commissioner General Bruno Antonio Pasquino has asked the Italian embassy in Moscow to step in, because the Russian party appeared to be ready to reach a compromise.

Pasquino asked for time until the end of October to reach a diplomatic solution before opening a lawsuit

A gap of almost €1 million in a total of €7.4 million owed to the companies has meant some of them have had to lay off workers, while others have been unable to pay their suppliers. Only one of the group had managed to reach agreement with the Russians by conceding a hefty discount, while another creditor tried to have the pavilion seized by bailiffs, only to find that nobody knew where to serve the papers.

Ominously, Commissioner Pasquino said that there were other such cases, too, and he was working on bringing the parties to agreement.