Collusion not the reason of the fuel crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine adjourned the case of Russian oil companies accussed of collusion in the recent fuel crisis, reports The crisis caused gas prices to rise sharply and filling stations to run dry.

Ukrainian regulators on Tuesday ruled there was no collusion among Russian oil companies earlier this year during the fuel crisis, says the AP.

However, the Anti-Monopoly Committee fined British-Russian oil company TNK-BP US$60,000 for distributing unreliable information in connection with the crisis, which prompted the government to briefly impose price controls.

Regulators had been considering anti-monopoly cases against the large Russian oil companies, including Lukoil, that dominate the Ukrainian gasoline station market.

But Oleksiy Kostusev, head of the Anti-Monopoly Committee, said during an open session that the committee had found no evidence of anticompetitive activity.

"If we don't have evidence about collusion, for example, we aren't going to fabricate something and weave together a case, so to speak," he said, reports the AP.

The committee did not elaborate on its decision to fine TNK-BP.

TNK-BP Ukraine chief Oleksandr Gorodetsky said that the company had "made a number of mistakes and will make the corresponding conclusions."

Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko accused the Russian oil companies of collusion after a sharp rise in gas prices in May. Regulators investigated the Russian companies and set a cap on prices.

President Viktor Yushchenko later ordered the caps removed and chided Timoshenko for violating free market principles. He also made Timoshenko apologize to Russian oil traders.

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