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Russia antitrust authority rules oil producers broke competition laws

[JURIST] Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) [official website] Thursday announced that Russian oil companies Rosneft and LUKoil [corporate websites] broke competition laws in the Russian market by fixing monopoly-like prices this summer. The FAS found Rosneft and LUKoil fixed high prices for gasoline, diesel fuel, air fuel, and fuel oil. The agency will determine the size of fines within the next two weeks. Reuters has more. RIA Novosti has local coverage.

In July, the FAS sent inquiries [FAS press release] to major Russian oil producers LUKoil, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz, TNK-BP [corporate websites], and Rosneft over rising fuel prices. Earlier this month the agency demanded [RIA Novosti report] that they all cut prices. In September, Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP were also found in breach of competition laws. The Russian oil industry has been somewhat in disarray since the collapse of Yukos Oil [JURIST news archive], which legally ceased to exist in 2007 after the Moscow Arbitration Court completed its liquidation. Once Russia's largest oil company, Yukos was forced to declare bankruptcy [JURIST report] in August 2006 when it could not pay claimed back taxes. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in 2005 and is currently imprisoned in Siberia. Rosneft acquired Yukos' remaining assets.

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