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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German utility RWE (RWEG.DE) said it signed a contract to sell oil and gas production arm DEA to a group of investors led by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, sealing a deal that has been criticized by senior German politicians amid the Crimea crisis.
RWE announced plans on March 16 to sell DEA to the investors for 5.1 billion euros ($7 billion).
Several senior German politicians questioned the decision, which came just as relations between Russia and the West deteriorated over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Earlier on Friday, though, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the sale was based on "company decisions" and was "essentially unproblematic".
RWE reiterated on Friday that it expected the deal, which requires the approval of its supervisory board and regulators in several countries, to close later this year.
($1 = 0.7271 Euros)
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Erica Billingham