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 EU to file official antitrust charges against Gazprom April 22

Brussels will accuse Russia’s Gazprom of illegal abuse of its dominant position in Europe’s gas market on Wednesday, unveiling antitrust charges that threaten to inflame already difficult relations with Moscow.

Just a week after confronting Google over its market power, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, is pressing forward with a longstanding Gazprom case all but frozen by the Ukraine crisis, according to two people familiar with the situation, the article in the Financial Times reads, Censor.NET reports.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the matter: "The European Union's competition regulator plans to file formal antitrust charges against Russia's state-owned gas company OAO Gazprom on Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said Monday, a step set to escalate the standoff between Europe and Moscow.

"The European Commission started a formal investigation of Gazprom's business practices in some eastern and southern European countries in September 2012, saying it suspected the company of abusing its dominant position in those countries' natural-gas supply. The bloc's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in February that she was ready to file formal charges against Gazprom in a "relatively short time span.

"The person familiar with the commission's case against Gazprom said that the charge sheet, known as a statement of objections, against the company has been put on the agenda of the commission meeting Wednesday and that no resistance was expected. A spokesman for Ms. Vestager declined to comment.

"Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov couldn't be reached for comment.

Read also: Miller threatens European Commission with raising price for Russian gas

"Russian government and Gazprom officials have denounced the EU's probe as politically motivated and aimed at forcing the company to reduce its prices. Europe is Gazprom's most lucrative market, and the company accounts for around one-third of EU gas imports, making it the largest outside supplier. Some countries in the Baltics and southeastern Europe rely entirely on shipments from the Russian company," the article in the Wall Street Journal reads.
 
 
 
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