Britain may block $6.52-bn Mikhail Fridman – RWE North Sea deal

The British government may block a  €5.1-billion ($6.52 billion) deal of German utility RWE's plan of selling gas fields in the North Sea to an investment company led by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, the Financial Times today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The UK government's move is part of the US and EU sanctions over the Ukraine crisis against Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin who control companies in the energy, banking and defence industries.

Although Fridman is not on the sanction list of Russian people named by US and EU, the UK energy ministry may block the deal, the report said.

In March, Fridman led Luxembourg-based investment fund LetterOne said that it would buy RWE's oil and gas unit RWE Dea AG for €5.1 billion, and despite the Ukraine crisis, the German government had in August approved the deal.

LetterOne is an investment company formed by Fridman and his partner German Borisovich Khan last year and had announced that they would invest part of the $14 billion received from the sale of their stake in TNK-BP to Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft.

Reuters reported that RWE said it was still working on closing the sale of its oil and gas unit RWE Dea AG to a Russian investor, "We are still working to close the transaction in 2014 as planned."