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Ukraine Opens Antitrust Probe Into Billionaire Akhmetov's Electricity Producer

Rinat Akhmetov

Ukraine's Anti-Monopoly Committee (AMKU) has opened an antitrust probe into the country's biggest power producer, DTEK, owned by billionaire Rinat Akhmetov.

In an October 7 explanatory statement on the regulator's website, the AMKU accused a unit of Akhmetov's energy holding located in the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk of "abusive economic practices."

DTEK subsidiary Zakhidenerho has been allegedly taking advantage of its "market presence" there, where its coal-fired plant accounts for 90 percent of electricity production in three regions at the so-called Burshtyn Energy Island.

In a statement, DTEK said the accusation was groundless, calling the probe "an artificial administrative intervention in market competition."

Burshtyn is a part of the power grid that is separated from Ukraine's energy system and connected to the EU's ENTSO-E system.

In August, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau accused DTEK officials of manipulating tariffs on electricity generated from coal with energy and utilities regulators that allegedly forced consumers to overpay $747 million in 2016-17.

DTEK allegedly benefited by $560 million in the scheme.

The energy producer denounced the allegation, saying there was "no legitimate basis for suspicions set out in the investigation," DTEK said in an August 8 statement.

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