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BP Says Japan, Korean Seek Oil-Price Manipulation Info

BP Plc, the third-largest European energy producer, said regulators in Japan and Korea sought information regarding potential manipulation of oil prices, amid ongoing probes in Europe and the U.S.

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission made an initial request for information in June and the Korea Fair Trade Commission began an investigation in December, the London-based company said in its 2013 annual report, released today. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission requested price-reporting documents from BP in January, BP said.

Wataru Kobayashi, Tokyo-based director of the management and planning division at the Japan FTC’s investigation bureau, declined to comment when reached by phone. A Sejong-based spokesman for Korea’s FTC also declined to comment, asking not to be identified because of internal policy.

The European Commission raided BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA offices along with energy-information company Platts in May as part of a probe into how benchmark oil prices are set. The European Commission hasn’t charged any of the companies with wrongdoing.

BP also said today that 15 purported class-action lawsuits have been filed in U.S. district courts alleging manipulation and antitrust violations under the Commodity Exchange Act and U.S. antitrust laws, which have been consolidated in federal court in New York.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with Platts and other companies in providing energy markets news and information. Shell and Total SA are the largest European oil and gas producers by market value.

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