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BP, Shell, Statoil Face U.S. Lawsuit After EU Oil Price Probe

The three oil producers under investigation by the European Commission for manipulating oil prices are being sued in a class-action lawsuit in the U.S.

BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA “deliberately reported inaccurate, misleading and false information regarding Brent crude oil prices to Platts,” Prime International Trading Ltd., said in a complaint filed May 22 in federal court in New York.

Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., was raided this month along with the three oil companies by EU officials looking for evidence of price manipulation. Platts calculates benchmarks that are used in transactions worldwide based on reports from oil companies that buy and sell crude.

Prime Trading, based in Chicago, traded hundreds of thousands of futures contracts at “artificial prices” because of manipulation, the complaint says.

Spokesmen for BP and Shell declined to comment on the U.S. suit. A spokesman for Statoil was not available for comment when contacted by phone and e-mail.

The case is Prime International Trading Ltd. versus BP Plc et al, 7:13-cv-03473-KMK, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (White Plains).

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