Following its action against Enron earlier this month, the
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has illustrated
its ongoing investigation of energy trading markets with the
settlement of charges of natural gas price manipulation by El
Paso Merchant Energy (EPME) and a separate charge of fraud
against a natural gas trader.
El Paso has agreed to pay $20m to settle charges that, from
at least June 2000 through to November 2001, it reported false
natural gas trading information, including price and volume
information, and failed to report actual trading information,
to certain reporting firms. CFTC's order found that EPME
knowingly submitted false information to the reporting firms in
an attempt to skew indices of natural gas prices for various
hubs around the US for EPME's financial benefit, in violation
of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
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