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Amaranth Reaches Settlement in Natural Gas Class Action

Amaranth Advisors LLC, the hedge fund that collapsed in 2006 after losing $6.6 billion on natural gas trades, tentatively settled a class-action lawsuit in which it was accused of market manipulation, according to a filing in Manhattan federal court.

U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin said in an order Oct. 5 that the parties in the case had reached an agreement. In August 2009, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that Greenwich, Connecticut-based Amaranth paid $7.5 million to settle allegations that the hedge fund tried to manipulate natural gas futures three years earlier.

In April, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a $30 million civil penalty against Amaranth trader Brian Hunter, who was accused of manipulating the natural gas market in 2006.

Hunter’s attorney, Michael Kim, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Chris Lovell, an attorney for the plaintiffs at Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP in New York, and Stephen Senderowitz, a lawyer for Amaranth at Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago, declined to comment. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 30.

The case is In Re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litigation, 07-06377, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)

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