OAO Gazprom on Monday said it has submitted proposals to the European Commission to settle accusations that the Russian energy giant hindered competition and charged unfair prices in several Eastern European countries.
If accepted, a settlement could help the company avoid billion-dollar fines, but would likely require it to fundamentally change the way it has done business in its former backyard since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The commission in April filed formal charges against Gazprom, saying the state-controlled company broke European Union antitrust law in eight countries where it is the dominant gas supplier—Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. The commission, which acts as the European Union’s antitrust watchdog, said restrictive terms in Gazprom contracts forced territorial constraints on customers, for instance by prohibiting them from re-exporting gas to another country.
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