Lukoil refinery to resume, after Romania lifts shut-down on business over tax evasion probe

Energy Associated Press

Russian crude producer Lukoil says Romanian authorities have lifted a freeze on its assets and activity that was placed as a result of a probe into tax evasion and money laundering worth 230 million euros ($290 million).

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Lukoil said Tuesday that its Petrotel refinery in Romania was preparing to resume operations after a court ruled that a freeze place last week on its bank accounts, assets and refining activities could be lifted. The probe, however, continues.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta criticized the freeze on Monday, saying it could scare off investors and that Lukoil's 3,500 employees risked not receiving their salaries.

Russia's ambassador Oleg Malginov also said he was concerned about the situation.

Lukoil has some 300 gas stations and a 20 percent share of the gasoline market in Romania.