March 9, 2016 / 5:35 PM / 4 years ago

Gazprom aims for amicable solution in EU antitrust case

The logo of Gazprom is pictured at the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and the European Commission are moving towards a “mutually acceptable” solution in resolving antitrust charges against the gas producer, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Russian state-controlled company is fighting accusations of overcharging customers and blocking rivals in eastern Europe, practices which the European Commission say breach the bloc’s rules ensuring a level playing field.

It is seeking to avoid a fine, which under EU rules could be up to $7.6 billion, equal to 10 percent of its 2014 revenue, and settle the charges with concessions.

Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev and European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the concessions, and both sides agreed to continue talks.

“Thanks to the hard work and constructive approach from both sides, we are making progress towards a mutually acceptable solution,” Medvedev said in a statement.

Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso also called the discussion “open and constructive”.

Gazprom supplies around a third of the 28-member EU’s gas and a decision in the case, which has dragged on since 2011, comes amid tension between the European Union and Russia over Ukraine, Syria and the proposed Nord Stream gas link to Germany.

Editing by Jack Stubbs and Susan Thomas

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