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    Russia's Gazprom, EU Commission May Settle Antitrust Dispute in Late October

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    Russia's Gazprom energy company and the European Union’s antitrust authorities may agree at the end of October on the terms of settlement that would introduce changes to the way the business operates, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Commission, which is the EU antitrust regulator, Gazprom executives, and the Russian government officials are expected to discuss the final draft of the agreement in a meeting at the end of the month, The WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The investigation into Gazprom’s possible violation of the EU antitrust laws was initiated by the European Commission in August 2012. The company is believed to be hindering competition in Central and Eastern European gas markets, namely in Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Slovakia. According to the European Commission, terms in the Gazprom contracts were rather restrictive and imposed constraints on the customers, in particular, by prohibiting them from re-exporting gas to another country. Besides, Gazprom was accused of tying the price of gas to that of oil. Gazprom denied all accusations.

    Should the dispute be resolved, the gas giant could escape billion-dollar fines in exchange for changing its operation policies. However, the negotiations could be completed without reaching any agreement, the newspaper pointed out.

    In case the European Union and Gazprom agree on the terms of the settlement, it would be presented to other countries affected by the case, which could take weeks.

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    antitrust laws, European Union, European Commission, Gazprom, Russia
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