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Russian gas giant denies breaking competition rules


brussels bureau

Russian gas giant denies breaking competition rules

Russian energy giant Gazprom has refuted allegations it broke European competition law, after the EU launched an investigation into the firms behaviour in central and eastern European member states.

Brussels opened the probe on Tuesday citing concerns the firm was abusing its dominant market position.

Despite Gazprom’s insistence it stuck to the rules, some experts aren’t surprised by the EU’s move.

‘‘I think the major damage to the reputation of Gazprom and Russia has been done in the last Ukraine-Russian gas crisis. This is where the real things happened. In fact, I think Gazprom shot itself in the foot and it doesn’t have much leverage now because its reputation is not what it used to be,’‘ said Christian Egenhofer from the Centre for European Policy Studies.

European officials insist the investigation is not directed at Russia. However, the latest push to break the gas giants near monopoly is almost certain to increase tensions with Moscow which has been highly critical of the EU’s stance against Gazprom in the past.

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