LONDON, April 26 (UPI) -- Billionaire George Soros is criticizing Moscow's plan to take the state-run OAO Rosneft oil company public.
Writing in Wednesday's Financial Times, Soros warned that the move risks legitimizing a Kremlin drive to re-nationalize energy businesses in ethically unacceptable ways.
Soros was referring to the Kremlin's prosecution of executives at OAO Yukos, whose main assets have been swallowed up by Rosneft in a murky process that vaguely resembled a fire sale. Rosneft's initial public offering, expected in July, could raise up to $20 billion.
Soros highlighted ethical concerns about Rosneft's acquisition of Yukos assets and the imprisonment in a Siberian work camp of Yukos' founder.
Soros said that typifies Russia's dubious methods in reasserting central control over energy, including Gazprom, the natural gas giant.
"Europe is relying for a large portion of its energy supplies on a country that does not hesitate to use its monopoly power in devious and arbitrary ways," Soros wrote. "Allowing the Rosneft IPO to go forward would consolidate and legitimize a state of affairs that is detrimental to Europe's energy security and weaken the European Union's hand in negotiating better conditions with Russia."