BELGRADE Aug 12 Serbian police are to
investigate the 2008 privatisation of state oil company NIS
, now majority-owned by Russia's Gazprom Neft
, the interior ministry said.
Gazprom Neft bought a 51 percent stake in the NIS monopoly
for 400 million euros ($534 million) in 2008, under a Serbian
government led by the current opposition Democratic Party.
Some politicians at the time said the sale grossly
undervalued NIS. It coincided with the climax of a drive by
Serbia's former southern province of Kosovo to secede, with
Serbia relying on ally Russia's veto in the Security Council to
block any U.N. endorsement of a declaration of independence.
"A special investigative team will examine all the facts and
circumstances regarding the privatisation of NIS," the ministry
said in a statement late on Monday.
The sale was part of a wider energy deal between Russia and
Serbia, which included a commitment to build the South Stream
pipeline through Serbia and construction of a gas storage
facility since completed.
A spokeswoman for NIS said the sale "is a matter of
agreement between the two countries".
"The matter should be resolved between the two countries,"
Serbia is in the middle of a dispute between the European
Union, which it wants to join, and Russia's South Stream
project, with the EU effectively blocking construction in
Serbian neighbour Bulgaria.
(1 US dollar = 0.7485 euro)
(Editing by Dale Hudson)