ZUG, Switzerland (AP) _ Russian-owned energy trading group Crown Resources said Monday that it regretted failing to buy the Swiss-based commodities operation of former U.S. fugitive financier Marc Rich.

``We were disappointed that ... it has not been possible to agree on further steps,'' said Crown Resources chief executive Elliot Spitz.

Marc Rich & Co. Holding GmbH said Friday that it was breaking off talks with Crown over the sale of Marc Rich Investment, citing a ``lack of agreement on key points.'' It gave no further explanation for the failure of the deal.

Two calls to Zug headquarters of the Marc Rich group for comment Monday were not returned by executives.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the deal stumbled on a quarrel over price.

Under the proposed deal, announced in February, Rich's holding company would have retained an interest in the newly enlarged commodity business. Crown had been expected to eventually buy out that interest.

Crown is owned by the Alfa Group, a powerful banking and industrial conglomerate. Rich indirectly holds a stake in Marc Rich Investment through his wholly owned holding company.

Rich founded Marc Rich Investment in 1996, two years after he sold Glencore, his previous commodities company.

Crown sells Russian oil for TNK, Alfa's oil subsidiary. It also has tight links to other Alfa companies operating within Russia and beyond.

Marc Rich Investment had a turnover of $7.5 billion last year and employs 300 people.

The Belgian-born Rich grew up in the United States but renounced his U.S. citizenship. He holds Israeli and Spanish citizenship and has lived in Switzerland since 1983, when he was indicted in the United States for evading more than $48 million in taxes, for fraud and for illegal oil deals with Iran.

His eleventh-hour pardon by former President Clinton provoked a storm of criticism in the United States.