Russian President Vladimir Putin last week called for the elimination of corruption in the state-controlled gas giant, Gazprom, and said its business model should be improved.
Gazprom, one of the biggest and most opaque companies in the world, is under investigation by the European Commission for anti-competitive practices. Meanwhile, prices of its liquefied natural gas are falling, forcing it to mothball its huge Shtokman project in the Arctic.
Speaking at VTB Capital’s annual conference in Moscow, Putin said: ‘We hear claims more and more frequently about how the company’s business is developing and how there’s corruption there. There probably is. The police must catch and imprison’ anyone involved in graft.
Putin also said Gazprom’s monopoly on its network of export pipelines should be ended.
Last year Gazprom reported profits of $45 billion on revenue of $158 billion. But it ranked 98 out of 105 on TI’s corporate reporting index, making it one of the least transparent companies in the world.
Investigators from the European Commission conducted surprise raids on Gazprom subsidiaries in 2011 and stepped up the investigation this year.
Maria Dolores Hernandez J. is a researcher for the membership area of the FCPA Blog.