SemGroup Trustee Sues Barclays Over $143 Million Transaction

A trustee representing the creditors of SemGroup Corp. (SEMG) sued Barclays Plc (BARC) over a $143 million deal to offload the oil and natural gas pipeline company’s commodities trading positions the month before it filed for bankruptcy in July 2008.

SemGroup, which lost $2.4 billion shorting oil as prices rose in 2007 and 2008, emerged from bankruptcy in November 2009, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court.

The trustee, Bettina Whyte, is seeking a return of the $143 million SemGroup paid Barclays to take over its trading book on the New York Mercantile Exchange. She claims Barclays forced a “huge and unjustified” fee on SemGroup, with no benefit to the company or its creditors.

“Under the circumstances, the size of the fee was unconscionable and SemGroup did not receive reasonably equivalent value,” Whyte claimed in the complaint.

Mark Lane, a spokesman for Barclays in New York, said he hadn’t seen the complaint and had no immediate comment.

The case is Whyte v. Barclays Bank Plc, 12-CV-5318, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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