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Chesapeake Energy facing formal SEC investigation

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. on Friday said it is facing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Modified: March 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm •  Published: March 1, 2013

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is facing a formal investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company confirmed Friday in a regulatory filing.

The SEC's Fort Worth, Texas, office initiated an informal inquiry of the Oklahoma City oil and natural gas company last year after Reuters reported on more than $1 billion in personal loans secured by CEO Aubrey McClendon, using his personal stake in Chesapeake wells as collateral.

The company has since said it would discontinue the Founder Well Participation Program, which allowed McClendon to take a 2.5 percent stake in each well the company drilled.

Chesapeake, which had been cooperating with the SEC, was notified Dec. 21 that the inquiry would continue as an investigation. The SEC has issued subpoenas for information and testimony.

“The company, including Mr. McClendon, is providing information to the SEC in connection with this matter,” according to Friday's filing. “The company is also responding to related inquiries from other governmental and regulatory agencies and self-regulatory organizations.”

Chesapeake's board, which was revamped last year amid shareholder unrest, announced last week that its review of McClendon's finances revealed no sign of intentional misconduct.

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