Sandu: “The Inspection Did Not Reveal Moldova’s $800m Debt to Gazprom”

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An audit conducted by an international company didn’t reveal Moldova’s $800m debt to Gazprom, as claimed by the Russian gas giant. This was announced by President Maia Sandu, Reuters reports. The government will present an official statement on the inspection results next week. According to Sandu, during negotiations with Gazprom ahead of the 2021 winter season, the Russian side refused to extend the contract at the last minute and tried to “deceive” Moldovan representatives by taking advantage of the rush. “This will become public knowledge next week. The government will come out and say that we hired an international company that conducted an audit and said that we don’t have any debts of $800 million. They tried to cheat in a hurry. Left us without gas. Winter was coming. “Let’s quickly sign that you will pay back $800 million in 4 years and you will have gas.” We said that we could not sign it, because it was an awful lot of money and we could not sign for such a thing. They told: “You will have no gas,” Sandu claimed. According to her, during 30 years of Moldova’s independence, no one has tried to buy gas from other sources. Gas is supplied by a monopolist and it is crazy. She noted that Gazprom has confronted Chisinau to the fact that Moldova will not be able to change the law and find new contracts in 2 months. In response to such a gesture, the Moldovan authorities started to think over other supply possibilities, as Moscow “misbehaved”. A year ago, Gazprom estimated Moldova’s debt at $709 million and the amount was set to rise with interest. The government decided to conduct an independent audit to clarify the amount. Last August, Moldova signed a contract with 2 companies from Norway and Great Britain to inspect Moldovagaz’s debts. Moldova pays 15.7 million lei to the two auditing companies for the services provided.