UPDATE 1-Serbia to investigate privatisation of state oil firm NIS

Вторник, 12 августа 2014 19:28 MSK

* Political row over privatisation deals

* NIS deal brokered by party now in opposition

* Government facing scrutiny over airline sale (Updates with Gazprom Neft reaction)

By Ivana Sekularac

BELGRADE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Serbia is to launch an investigation into the 2008 privatisation of state oil company NIS, now majority-owned by Russia's Gazprom Neft , the country's interior ministry said.

Gazprom Neft, which bought a 51 percent stake in the NIS monopoly for 400 million euros ($534 million) in 2008, said it was surprised that the Serbian authorities would bring "our fruitful work into question".

In a statement late on Monday, the interior ministry said it would investigate the deal that was brokered under a government led at the time by the Democratic Party, which is now in opposition.

Some politicians at the time said the sale grossly undervalued NIS. It coincided with the climax of a drive by Serbia's former southern province of Kosovo to secede, with Serbia relying on ally Russia's veto in the Security Council to block any U.N. endorsement of a declaration of independence.

"A special investigative team will examine all the facts and circumstances regarding the privatisation of NIS," the ministry said.   Продолжение...