Romania Charges Lukoil, Managers in $1.9 Billion Fraud Case

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Romania charged units of Russian oil producer OAO Lukoil with complicity in money laundering in a case estimated at 1.77 billion euros ($1.94 billion), authorities said on Monday.

Prosecutors at the court of appeal in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, also brought formal charges against several executives for alleged crimes including illegal use of the company’s credit and capital, according to an e-mailed statement.

“Between 2011 and 2014, the suspects knowingly used company goods and credit granted to the company to benefit other companies in which they had a direct or indirect interest,” the prosecutors wrote, among other accusations.

Lukoil’s press service declined to comment.

Romania has boosted efforts to fight corruption and clean one of European Union’s biggest shadow economies to limit the drain on state finances. The process has even engulfed Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is fighting for his political survival after incurring charges in a separate graft case last month.

Investigators working on the Lukoil case froze assets and bank accounts worth about 2 billion euros belonging to the group. Last month, the company asked the European Commission and Romania’s president to intervene in the case, Digi24 TV reported.

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