Rosneft sale possible EU sanctions breach

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The European Commission said on Tuesday it is reviewing the details of Glencore’s decision to buy a stake in Russian state oil giant Rosneft to check whether it conforms with EU sanctions against Russia.

Rosneft has been subject to EU and US sanctions since 2014, following Russia’s seizure of the Crimea region of Ukraine, although the Russian president has voiced hope of an end to the restrictions following Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency.

“We are aware of the case and are currently looking into the details of it,” an EU spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

She added that implementing sanctions was the responsibility of each of the 28 EU member states.

The US government said last week it would check whether sanctions had been violated after Glencore confirmed it had acquired a stake in Rosneft.

Glencore financed the deal with 300 million euros  of its own equity, with the rest financed by the Qatar Investment Authority and bank financing, which sources said would come from Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo.

“The transaction is in compliance with applicable sanctions laws,” a spokesman for Glencore said.

The EU sanctions restrict Rosneft’s access to capital markets, but do not specifically outlaw equity deals.

The United States also added Rosneft to its sanctions list and historically has taken a stronger stance against Russia than the European Union, whose dependency on Russian energy has often made some member states reluctant to impose punitive measures