Williams Companies, Inc. et al.

Las Vegas, NV: (Jul-10-07) A class action lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs representing California natural gas end-users, including resellers and co-generators of electricity for resale, against Williams Companies, Inc., Encana Corporation, Dynegy, Inc., Coral Energy Resources LP, CMS Energy Resources Management Company, Aquila Merchant Services, Inc., and their respective affiliates, in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. The suit claimed that the defendants caused the price of natural gas to increase by conducting prearranged wash trades. Wash trades are the simultaneous purchase and sale of the same amount of natural gas at the same price. The suit also claimed the defendants reported false price and volume information to trade publications that compile natural gas price indices, in violation of federal and California law. As a result, California customers paid more for natural gas.

Though the defendants denied those allegations, they did however, enter into a financial settlement, agreeing to pay a total payment to the settlement class of $11,313,846.15. The proposed settlement would settle claims of all individuals and entities that purchased natural gas in California and at the California border during the period January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2002, directly from one of the defendants. [EARTH TIMES: GAS PRICE FRAUD]

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