LUKoil admits price fixing, anti-monopoly watchdog says

Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog said on Tuesday that the country’s largest private oil company LUKoil had admitted to price fixing and vowed to cease the practice.

This is the third wave of price fixing inquiries against four of Russia’s top oil companies in the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. The first two waves ended up with the companies paying over $550 million in fines as of July 8.

“Today we received a written statement on the issue, which says the company would seek to eliminate the violations and their consequences and admits having fixed the price,” Anatoly Golomolzin, deputy chief of the anti-monopoly service, said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel.

He added that the service had received no such statement from Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil giant.

The watchdog pursued four Russian companies – Rosneft, LUKoil, Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP – for price fixing in 2008-2009 and imposed a fine of 26 billion rubles ($900 million) for the period, which was later reduced to 15 billion rubles ($540 million).

On July 29, the anti-monopoly service said Gazprom Neft had admitted its price-fixing violations for the fourth quarter of 2010-early 2011 and offered explanations and solutions. The service then closed its probe into the company.

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