21:48 GMT +320 July 2017
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    Mining giant Mechel fined $32mln for breaching anti-trust laws

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    MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Mining giant Mechel will be fined 790 million rubles ($32 million), or 5% of its annual turnover, for violations of anti-competition laws, the Russian antimonopoly regulator said on Tuesday.

    According to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, Mechel abused its dominant market position by charging artificially high prices for its products, refused to sign contracts for deliveries, and supported a policy of price fixing.

    Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog launched a probe into the activities of Mechel after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the company late in July of selling coking coal domestically at double the export price, and ordered the watchdog to look into the company's operations.

    Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, described as a positive sign Mechel's decision to cut prices for its products.

    "Today we have received an encouraging signal from Mechel and other companies engaged in the sale of coking coal that they are voluntary ready to cut their prices by 15%," Artemyev said.

    The anti-monopoly watchdog is also conducting a probe into the activities of Raspadsky Coal and Evraz Holding, following accusations that the companies have also been involved in price fixing.

    Raspadsky Coal, Evraz Holding, and Mechel control over 50% of Russia's coking coal market.

    Artemyev said similar sanctions amounting to 5% of annual turnover will apply to Raspadsky Coal and Evraz Holding.

    "We intend to complete the probe into the activities of Evraz Holding and Raspadsky Coal in the next two weeks," Artemyev said.

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