Romania investigates leaks from Russian-owned company

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Authorities in Romania have opened a criminal investigation into suspected data leaks against four employees of the local branch of neighboring Serbia’s NIS Petrol, which is majority-owned by Russia’s Gazprom Neft.

Organized crime prosecutors said late Monday that police raided the company’s offices in the capital, Bucharest, and the western city of Timisoara, along with the employees’ homes, as part of the inquiry.

No other details were immediately released. The Belgrade-based NIS told The Associated Press in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the company “adheres to the existing legal rules of countries where it conducts business.”

“The company has cooperated and will fully cooperate with all relevant institutions in order to clear all the aspects concerning the activities of the company and its employees in Romania,” NIS said.

Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, said late Monday that no Serbian citizens were involved and that “this has nothing to do with us. It’s Russia’s ownership.”

Romanian media reported that the four are citizens of Moldova and high ranking in the Romanian subsidiary of NIS petrol.

Serbia sold the majority stake in its state oil monopoly NIS to Russia’s Gazprom Neft in 2008. The Balkan nation still maintains close relations with Russia despite the war in Ukraine and has refused to join Western sanctions against Moscow.

NIS Petrol in Romania runs Gazprom gas stations in the west of the country and has carried out exploration for new sources of oil. The Romanian prosecutors said information about geological data had been sent to Belgrade and to Russia before Romanian authorities were informed.

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