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Russian lawsuits may create new difficulties for EU — Barroso

Russia’s state oil company Rosneft and businessman Arkady Rotenberg launched legal proceedings against the European Council

LONDON, October 20. /TASS/. Outgoing European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday the lawsuits filed by Russian companies over the EU sanctions against Moscow may create new problems for Brussels.

Speaking at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, in central London, Barroso commented on the move by Russia’s state oil company Rosneft and businessman Arkady Rotenberg to launch legal proceedings against the European Council.

Rosneft filed a lawsuit in the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice's General Court on October 9 against the EU sanctions that prohibit Russian energy companies and state banks from raising capital in European markets.

Rotenberg, a co-owner and chairman of board of directors of SMP Bank, who was slapped with an EU visa ban on July 30, filed two lawsuits against the sanctions on October 10 in the same court.

In late September, the Italian authorities arrested several houses on the island of Sardinia, a hotel in Rome, shares and banking accounts belonging to Rotenberg and totaling €30 million.

The European Union has imposed sectoral sanctions against Russia, targeting Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Transneft and also five Russian state banks and in particular banning them from taking loans in the EU for longer than 30 days.

Since March, the EU has imposed nine packages of sanctions on Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis, including banning equipment and know-how supplies to the country’s oil sector and freezing EU assets of 119 Russian and Ukrainian officials and barring them from entering the union.

Barroso will be succeeded by former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1.