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El Paso Unit to Settle Probe of Fake Trades

The natural gas trading unit of Houston-based El Paso Corp. said it agreed to pay $20 million to settle charges by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission that its traders provided fake trading data to natural gas industry publications that use the information to determine gas index prices.

“The company is not aware of any evidence that any of the inaccurate reporting affected any published index price,” El Paso said.

Last week, El Paso agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle complaints that the pipeline operator withheld natural gas supplies from California and sent prices to record levels during the energy crisis.

Most of that money is expected to be returned to ratepayers who paid inflated energy costs.

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