July 8, 2015 / 7:16 PM / 4 years ago

Romanian prosecutors seize Lukoil assets in probe: agency

A security guard walks in front of Lukoil's refinery offices near the city of Ploiesti, in southern Romania, October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian prosecutors seized assets of Russian oil firm Lukoil worth up to 2 billion euros ($2.22 billion) in an investigation on suspicion of money laundering, a local court was quoted as saying on Wednesday by state agency Agerpres.

In October of last year Romanian prosecutors, police and customs inspectors raided the offices of Lukoil near the city of Ploiesti in an investigation into alleged tax evasion and money laundering concerning an estimated 230 million euros.

As a result, Lukoil briefly shut down its local refinery.

On Wednesday, the Ploiesti court of appeals was quoted as saying prosecutors expanded their investigation into the head of the local Petrotel Lukoil S.A. and five other employees, including two Russian citizens, on accusations of misusing company credit and money laundering.

The actions of those investigated drained the local company of capital, the court was quoted by state agency Agerpres as saying.

A Lukoil spokesman in Moscow declined to comment. In Romania, Petrotel Lukoil officials were not immediately available for comment via phone or email.

“Seizure measures were enforced on some assets belonging to Lukoil Europe Holdings Bvatrium Holland for up to 2 billion euros,” Agerpres quoted the court as saying.

They seized accounts held with Dutch and British banks, share premiums as well as Lukoil Europe Holdings Bvatrium Holland shares in the Romanian company, it said.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alison Williams

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