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EU: Antitrust case against Gazprom launched

 |  April 22, 2015

The European Union on Wednesday charged Russian state energy giant Gazprom of abusing its dominant position in central and eastern EU nations in an antitrust case that will further test tense relations between Brussels and Moscow.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Gazprom is strong-arming customer nations ranging from Estonia to Bulgaria, where it sometimes almost fully controls the gas market, by setting unfair pricing and contract restrictions.

Vestager said she was investigating Gazprom’s sales policies throughout most of the EU’s eastern rim and was focused on three key issues: whether the company is preventing cross-border flows of gas to other EU nations, charging unfairly high prices and demanding to keep control of the pipelines in return for gas.

“It all ends up in one — abuse of dominant position,” she said.

Gazprom immediately dismissed the accusations as “unfounded.” The company said in a statement it “strictly adheres to all the norms of the international law and legislation in the countries where Gazprom operates.”

If found in breach of EU law, a company could be fined up to ten percent of annual turnover. With Gazprom turnover at $99 billion at current rates in 2013, the latest year available, that could amount to penalties of some $10 billion.


Full Content: The New York Times


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