Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Austria, gas and the big bad Russians


Could an Austrian oil and gas group with more than 41,000 employees, some 25.5 billion euros turnover and a presence in more than 20 countries actually be a secret front for Russian gas giants, extending their tentacles of power into Europe?

It could be if you believe Zsolt Hernadi, the chairman of Hungarian rival MOL, not to mention some scary headlines about Russian gas in the British press.

Earlier this week Austria’s OMV sold a 21 percent stake it held in MOL to Russian oil group Surgutneftegaz for 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion), double the amount the stake was worth as stock. The stake was originally bought from … a Russian family Almost half of the stake was originally bought from … a Russian family.

“Suspicion arises … that because the Russian investor bought this stake at exactly the (initial purchase) price, it (OMV) was just a front,” Hernadi told a Hungarian parliament committee.