Chekists going after metal industry

Russian steel and coal stocks plummeted after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for antitrust authorities to investigate Mechel, one of the country’s leading mining and metals companies, for its pricing of raw materials in Russia, NEWSru.com reports.

Mechel’s largest shareholder and CEO, Igor Zyuzin, had been invited to a session with Putin, but had fallen ill suddenly. Putin urged him to get better soon. “Otherwise, we will have to send him a doctor to get rid of all these problems,” Putin said.

Vedomosti reports that the investigation into Mechel’s pricing of raw materials began after a report by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, known as the leader of Kremlin’s “siloviki” faction. Sechin was reportedly the prime force behind the Kremlin’s confiscation of YUKOS’s assets.

Sechin has been looking actively into Russia’s metallurgy and coal industry lately. In early April, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz, and the Fund for the Development of the Pipe Industry complained to Russia’s antimonopoly authorities to about the rise in metal prices.
http://txt.newsru.com/finance/25jul2008/mechel.html

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