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BP, Shell, & Statoil in US lawsuit over alleged oil manipulation

LONDON -- BP, Shell and Statoil have been named in the first lawsuit to be filed following a European Commission antitrust investigation into alleged manipulation of oil prices and benchmarks, the Financial Times in London reported citing legal documents.

The oil majors were named as defendants in a class action filed in New York by Prime International Trading which is also claiming damages against unknown defendants, the newspaper said.

Prime International alleges that the defendants intentionally manipulated and conspired to fix the price of Brent Crude oil, the global benchmark, and the price of future contracts, the Financial Times said.

As major producers and market participants in the Brent Crude oil market, including contributors of Brent Crude oil prices to Platts, defendants had and continue to have market power and the ability to influence prices in the Brent Crude oil market, the claimant alleges in legal documents, the Financial Times said.

By purposefully reporting inaccurate, misleading and false Brent Crude oil trade information to Platts, defendants manipulated and restrained trade in both the physical Brent Crude oil market and the Brent Crude oil futures market the legal documents add, the Financial Times said.

BP declined to comment. Shell declined to comment. Statoil wasn' t immediately available for comment. Prime International Trading wasn' t immediately available for comment.

Dow Jones Newswires



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