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Russia's LUKoil Denies Romanian Criminal Charges

Russia's No. 2 oil producer LUKoil denied on Thursday accusations of money laundering and tax evasion at its refinery in Romania, adding it would appeal against a move by Romanian prosecutors to seize assets.

The company also said the refinery's operations would not be affected by the investigation.

On Wednesday, Romanian prosecutors seized LUKoil assets worth up to 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) as part of an investigation which started last year, the prosecutor's office said, confirming earlier news reports.

LUKoil did not say where it planned to make its appeal.

Prosecutors also said they had expanded their investigation to include the head of the local Petrotel LUKoil S.A. business and five other employees, including two Russian citizens.

They are accused of misusing company credit and money laundering, draining the local business of funds.

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