Romanian prosecutors sent Russian oil major Lukoil
Bucharest - AFP
Romanian prosecutors on Monday sent Russian oil major Lukoil to trial on charges of defrauding its local refinery 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion).
Lukoil Europe Holdings BV based in the Netherlands, Petrotel Lukoil which runs the refinery in Ploiesti in southern Romania, and six executives including three Russian nationals were charged with money laundering for allegedly siphoning off funds from the local company to its European owner.
Petrotel's managing director Andrey Bogdanov and five of his subordinates "concluded contracts disadvantageous to the refinery by selling petroleum products at prices lower than production costs", said a statement from the Ploiesti prosecutor's office.
It also accused the companies and executives of making fictitious debt repayments and capital contributions.
Prosecutors also froze bank accounts of Lukoil Europe and Petrotel holding more than 2 billion euros.
Lukoil last month "strongly denied accusations of money laundering" when Romanian authorities first disclosed its plans to prosecute.
The Russian company threatened to close the refinery, which it bought in 1998, after Romanian prosecutors opened their investigation in October last year and raided several offices.
Lukoil has a 20 percent share of the Romanian fuel market with a network of 300 filling stations. It lost 68 million euros last year in Romania on sales of 1.4 billion euros.