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13

Putin Watches Gazprom-Sibneft Deal

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he was aware that Gazprom was negotiating...

Russia?s President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he was aware that Gazprom was negotiating to buy into Roman Abramovich's Sibneft, confirming growing speculation in the market that a deal was in the offing, Cbonds.info reported.

"I know that Gazprom and Sibneft representatives discussed this deal," Putin told reporters Friday at the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, news agencies reported.

Putin said that he had met with Sibneft's owners and that he shared his opinion that the state should treat any sale as a market deal.

Putin's statement came as speculation mounted last week that Abramovich was in talks to sell his majority 57.7 percent stake in Sibneft, following the announcement that the company would pay a record $2.3 billion in dividends for 2004.