BERLIN, March 18 Senior German politicians have
questioned utility group RWE's decision to sell its
oil and gas unit DEA to investors led by Russia's
second-richest man Mikhail Fridman.
RWE said on Sunday it would sell the profitable part of its
business to the investor group in a deal worth 5.1 billion euros
($7.1 billion), as it struggles to emerge from a deep energy
industry crisis and its first net loss since 1949.
The deal comes as relations deteriorate between Russia and
the West over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of Merkel's
Christian Democrats (CDU), urged the government to examine the
DEA deal, warning Germany's energy dependence on Russia was
already too high.
His party colleague Joachim Pfeiffer echoed his criticism,
as did the deputy leader of the Greens, Kerstin Andreae, and the
deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD)
Hubertus Heil, although Heil added the government could not
meddle in business matters.
RWE said on Sunday it had told the German government about
the deal and received no indication it would be opposed to it,
while a spokeswoman for Germany's Economy Ministry said on
Monday Europe's biggest economy was not worried that the deal
would be a threat to natural gas supplies or energy security.
Under German law the government can veto sales to foreign
companies if German security is in doubt.
"I would have preferred it if they had sold to someone other
than the Russians," Fuchs told Reuters. "It would certainly not
do any harm to examine the sale."
($1 = 0.7188 Euros)
(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Alexandra Hudson;
Editing by David Holmes)