Regulators: Firms manipulated oil prices in 2008

By the Associated Press | May 24, 2011 | 8:45 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. commodity regulators are suing three companies and two individuals claiming they manipulated crude oil futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange over four months in 2008.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed the civil complaint Tuesday in New York against Parnon Energy Inc., Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. and Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA, and two men accused of directing the trading scheme: James T. Dyer of Australia and Nicholas J. Wildgoose of California.

Regulators claim the defendants traded futures and other contracts based on a benchmark for crude oil prices.

Then they allegedly took steps to artificially drive the price up, then back down, reaping more than $50 million in unlawful profits.

The complaint seeks financial restitution, among other penalties.