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Romanian court postpones hearing of appeal in case of Lukoil refinery Petrotel till Sep 3

August 14, 2015, 18:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Court found that the calculations presented by the prosecutor's office do not explain the size of the security measures and require additional explanation

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© AP Photo/Matt Rourke

MOSCOW, August 14. / TASS / The Prahova County Court in Romania, has postponed the hearing on the appeal in the case of interim measures of the Petrotel refinery until September 3, 2015, Lukoil said in a statement on Friday.

The Court found that the calculations presented by the prosecutor's office in relation to Petrotel-LUKOIL SA and LUKOIL Europe Holdings B.V. do not explain the size of the security measures and require additional explanation. The Prosecutor's Office is obliged to submit a clarification of its calculations 5 days ahead of the scheduled hearing.

In July, the Romanian prosecutors accused Lukoil of money laundering and tax evasion by its subsidiary Petrotel-Lukoil. The company has denied all claims and expressed hope for an objective investigation. "Lukoil strongly rejects all allegations of money laundering and tax evasion by Petrotel-Lukoil and its employees. Lukoil has been working in Romania since 1998 and is one of the largest energy companies on the region's market. Lukoil is bona fide payer to the state budget and the supplier of quality products for the Romanian consumers," the company said in a statement.

The head of Lukoil Vagit Alekperov sent a letter to the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis asking to ensure the transparency of the investigation on oil refinery Petrotel, owned by the Russian company. The letter said that due to the actions of the Romanian side plant is on the verge of closing. The head of Lukoil noted that around 4,000 workers of the plant could lose their jobs because of that. Alekperov also requested a meeting with Iohannis. At the same time the head of Lukoil informed the President Iohannis that he sent a letter to the European Union, as the situation with the oil refinery affects the market of petroleum products across the EU.

Lukoil Vice President for oil refining Thomas Mueller said on July 14, that the company does not plan to withdraw from Romania or change the management structure of the local oil refinery. We don’t plan to leave Romania. We are going to continue to work here," he said. At the same time, he said that Lukoil received an offer to purchase the Petrotel refinery in Romania, but has no plans to sell it. "We do not put the plant for sale. It is weird to receive an offer when we are not going selling it," he said. Mueller explained that the proposal came from a private company, but as Lukoil does not plan to sell the plant, the proposal has not been reviewed. He stressed that Lukoil is ready to compromise with Romania on the situation with the refinery. "We want to do everything possible so that the situation is resolved. It may be a misunderstanding, so we are ready for the dialogue," he said. Mueller also said that the management structure of the oil refinery in Romania is complies with the way the companies like Shell and ExxonMobil manage their oil refineries. "In that regard we do not plan to change anything," he added. According to him, the company contributed $6 bln in tax to Romanian budget, thus, the accusations of fiscal evasion is "manipulating facts." Lukoil also notes that Petrotel-Lukoil provides about a 1,000 jobs in the region. In the last 9 years roughly $540 mln was invested in upgrading the refinery.

The Romanian media reported the arrest of the Lukoil subsidiary’s property in Romania in the framework of the investigation. It was also noted that the activities of five Petrotel Lukoil SA employees, including two Russian citizens are investigated within the framework of the case of alleged damage of roughly €2 bln.

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