Lithuania sues Gazprom

Oct. 5, 2012 at 6:21 AM

VILNIUS, Lithuania, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The Lithuanian government announced plans to file a $1.9 billion lawsuit against Russian gas company Gazprom on charges it was over billed.

European countries rely heavily on Russian natural gas. The European Commission last month launched an antitrust investigation against Gazprom's operations in the upstream natural gas sector in Central and Eastern Europe.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told Cabinet members the EC decision was of "crucial importance" to the relationship with Gazprom.

"We have had several talks with the Gazprom management, including the talks that took place in this building, regarding this fact," he said. "We presented clear arguments and tried to convince them to adjust prices prior to any arbitral actions, however, to no avail."

Kubilius said the action against Gazprom would be brought to the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal. He said Gazprom violated the terms of a natural gas pricing agreement, causing prices to escalate considerably since 2004.

Gazprom had no immediate reaction to the Lithuanian case. The company said it considered the EC antitrust investigation to be a reflection of a weak European economy.

The Russian company, in a statement, said it "scrupulously" meets the letter of the law in all countries where it conducts business.

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