U.S. Riviera Travel & Tours filed a nearly $3.5 billion suit in District Court for the Central District of California against Russian flagship airline Aeroflot accusing it of extortion, RIA Novosti reported, citing RAPSI legal news agency.
Under the suit, a copy of which was obtained by RAPSI, Riviera and Aeroflot signed an agreement providing exclusive rights for the firm to wholesale tickets on Aeroflot flights to the United States, after which Aeroflot began demanding kickbacks from sales revenue, threatening to cancel the contract otherwise.
Riviera refused to pay and then had to concede wholesale rights to Downtown Travel, although it retained rights to retail sales.
The travel agency charges Aeroflot airline officials Andrei Novokshonov and Alexei Aleksandrov with violating the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Aeroflot declined to comment the information.
In October 2011 Aeroflot filed a suit against Riviera arguing it faced losses of about $315,000 for fraudulent operations by the U.S. travel firm in 2009-2010 when Riviera had no license.
The court hearing is scheduled for October 16, 2012.