BRUSSELS, May 24 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators ended a seven-year-long investigation into Gazprom on Thursday after the Russian gas giant agreed to reforms aimed at bringing down gas prices and allowing rivals a foothold in eastern Europe.
The European Commission, which launched the case with dawn raids at 20 offices in 10 countries in 2011, said Gazprom’s concessions addressed its concerns over excessive pricing in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
The EU decision to accept Gazprom’s pledges has allowed the company to avoid a possible fine of as much as 10 percent of its global turnover, a move criticised by several of the governments and utilities concerned by the case.
Reuters was the first to report on April 3 about the deal between the EU competition enforcer and Gazprom, which supplies about a third of the EU’s gas and contributes 9 percent of Russian gross domestic product. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)