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Michigan hearings to start in Chesapeake collusion case

Oklahoman Published: May 1, 2014

In brief

Hearings set in Chesapeake collusion case

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended a grand jury probe into allegations that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. colluded with a division of Calgary-based Encana Corp. in 2010 to avoid bidding against each other for oil and gas leases in Michgan.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer on Wednesday confirmed a Bloomberg report that the federal government’s antitrust division this week sent a letter to Chesapeake stating that the grand jury investigation had closed.

While the letter likely ends the federal investigation, Michigan authorities are set on Monday to begin hearings into the claims.

Prosecutors say Chesapeake and Encana executives conspired through a series of emails to divide up oil and gas leases in Michigan, and that the corporations crafted a draft agreement, according to the charges.

The emails, made public in 2012 by Reuters, included discussions between the companies’ executives regarding an agreement to split up Michigan counties so that each company would be an exclusive bidder for both public and private leases.

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