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Moldovan president says audit disproves $800 million Gazprom debt claim - report

Meeting of the European Political Community in Bulboaca

(Reuters) - An audit carried out by an international firm has disproved Russian gas giant Gazprom's claim that the Moldovan government owes it $800 million, Moldovan President Maia Sandu was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The former Soviet republic, situated between Ukraine and EU member Romania, used to buy Russian natural gas. But in late 2021 Gazprom and its Moldovan subsidiary said it had accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in debt which had to be repaid to ensure further stable supplies.

Gazprom put the debt at $709 million a year ago, although the sum might have increased with the addition of interest.

According to Moldovan news website Nokta.md, Sandu said at a public meeting that an audit disproved those claims, although it was not clear from her comments whether a smaller debt existed.

Sandu said the Chisinau government would make a formal statement on the findings in the coming days. Gazprom did not immediately reply to request for comment.

Moldova's pro-European government, bolstered by loans from EU institutions, has been buying its gas from other European sources since last December.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Ros Russell)