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Russia finds largest oil producer broke competition laws

[JURIST] Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service [official website] on Wednesday said that Rosneft [corporate website], the country's largest oil producer, broke unfair competition laws [press release, in Russian] by over-inflating wholesale prices of petroleum products. According to the FAS, Rosneft violated Article 10 of the country's Law on the Protection of Competition [text] by artificially decreasing the available supply of gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuels during the first half of 2009. The FAS said that Rosneft could face fines of between one and 15 percent of the revenues it gained from the illegally marked-up products. A spokesman for Rosneft has said the company plans to appeal the finding [RIA Novosti report]. Oil companies Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP [corporate websites] have also been found to have broken the law.

Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] urged lawmakers to pass an antitrust bill [text, PDF, in Russian; JURIST report] that would impose criminal penalties for unfair competition. Last year, FAS previously condemned Rosneft for breaking competition laws [JURIST report] during the summer of 2008. The government agency previously demanded that several oil companies cut their oil prices [RIA Novosti report].

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