* Deputy minister says no problems to security of supply
* DEA buyer Fridman not subject to sanctions
* Gas storage owned by Gazprom subject to German law
BERLIN, April 2 The German government will not
object to the sale of utility RWE's oil and gas
production arm DEA to investors led by Russian tycoon Mikhail
Fridman, a deputy minister said on Wednesday after some
politicians had questioned the deal.
Critics of the sale argue against increasing German
dependence on Russian energy supply and decision-making at a
time when relations are deteriorating because of Moscow's
annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
"The security of (energy) supply is not threatened by the
planned sale," said Iris Gleicke, parliamentary state secretary
at the Economy Ministry, adding that European Union measures
also did not present an obstacle.
"The EU sanctions that have been decided so far against the
background of the Ukraine crisis do not conflict with the
possible sale," she said in the lower house of the parliament,
or Bundestag, on Wednesday.
She earlier made similar remarks in a meeting of the
economic committee of the parliament, attendees said.
A number of politicians from the Christian Democrat and
Social Democrat parties within the ruling coalition, and from
the opposition Green Party, had criticised the 5.1 billion euro
($7 billion) sale to the LetterOne investment firm led by
Fridman that was announced on March 16 and sealed last
Gleicke said LetterOne was based in Luxembourg and Fridman
was not on a list of Russian senior business figures and
officials, on whom the EU has imposed travel sanctions, or whose
assets it has frozen.
The government would also not interfere with the closing of
an asset swap deal between Russia's Gazprom and its
German partner Wintershall, the oil and gas exploration arm of
chemicals group BASF, Gleicke said.
This no-cash transaction, agreed in 2012, will give Gazprom
greater access to gas trading and storage in Germany while
Wintershall gains more access to Siberian gas fields.
Gleicke said the operations of gas storage facilities were
subject to German law. "Therefore we don't see any danger to
security of supply," she said.
In addition, the participation in the joint venture of
Gazprom's subsidiary Gazprom Germania, which is based in Berlin,
meant that there were no grounds under foreign trade law to deny
permission for the deal, she said.
($1 = 0.7249 Euros)
(Reporting by Rene Wagner and Gernot Heller in Berlin; Writing
by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt; Editing by Anthony Barker)