Encana probes collusion accusation

Encana probes collusion accusation by Shawn McCarthy and Nathan Vanderklippe, June 25, 2012, The Globe and Mail with files from Reuters
Encana Corp. has launched an internal investigation after the State of Michigan said it is examining allegations that the company worked with rival Chesapeake Energy Corp. to avoid competing in state land auctions for shale gas. … Encana chairman David O’Brien said Monday that “an investigation of this matter was immediately initiated,” and the company “takes compliance with all laws very seriously and is committed to ethical business conduct in all that we do. … Some of the e-mails outlining plans for co-operation were allegedly authored by Mr. McClendon or Encana’s U.S. president, Jeff Wojahn, and some purport to show they were copied to Encana CEO Randy Eresman. Mr. Eresman and Mr. Wojahn were not available to comment, a company spokesman said. … The allegations remain a long way from being assessed in court. But if collusion were to be proven, especially in the U.S., the consequences can be serious and lead to stiff penalties. In the U.S., those wronged by collusion are entitled to triple damages, and because anti-competitive practices often affect large numbers of people, class action lawsuits are common. It’s not clear whether that might be the case in Michigan. But “In cases where there are many potential plaintiffs, the damages can be very significant,” said Peter Glossop, an antitrust lawyer with Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. [Emphasis added]

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