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Russia Warns Europe Over Anti-Trust Sanctions Against Gazprom

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that if the European Union imposes anti-trust sanctions against OAO Gazprom, this will make it hard for the gas export monopoly to work in the EU.

“If sanctions are adopted against Gazprom, it will be difficult for the company to operate in markets where it faces open discrimination,” Lavrov said in an article posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website. Russia is “concerned” about the anti-trust inquiry that began last year, he said in the article published in the annual Journal of Common Market Studies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in September warned the EU, which relies on Russia for a quarter of its gas needs, that there would be “losses on both sides” if the issue isn’t resolved. He accused the 28-nation bloc of trying to shift responsibility for subsidizing former communist EU members onto Russia by forcing Gazprom to cut prices for customers in eastern and central Europe.

Gazprom, the world’s largest gas exporter, faces a potential $14.5 billion penalty as companies found to violate EU competition rules can be fined as much as 10 percent of annual revenue. The European Commission is investigating whether Gazprom imposed unfair prices by linking gas and oil prices, preventing gas trading between countries and hindering the diversification of supply.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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