The European Commission has carried out surprise inspections at the headquarters of the Russian gas company Gazprom in Germany, being suspected of violating competition rules in order to increase prices, EU sources said on Thursday, AFP reports.
Russian gas deliveriesPhoto: Peter Kovalev / TASS / Profimedia
The EU executive, who also handles EU competition issues, did not confirm this information, but admitted in a statement that it had carried out inspections with the German competition authority “at the premises of several companies active in the field of supply, transport and natural gas storage in Germany “.
Two European sources confirmed to AFP that the investigations took place on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Russian giant Gazprom and its natural gas distribution subsidiary Wingas.
“Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in the investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission conducts such inspections does not mean that companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior and does not prejudice the outcome of the investigation itself,” the EU executive said.
The European Union, which relies 40 percent on Russian gas, is trying to get rid of this dependence as soon as possible, in the context of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Moscow is not only collecting huge sums for the oil, gas and coal it delivers to the EU, but is also pushing for them to be paid in rubles to defend its national currency.
Also on Thursday, the Russian publication Kommersant wrote, citing anonymous sources, that Gazprom is analyzing options for stopping gas supplies to “unfriendly” countries and assessing the possible consequences.