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Brief -- Chesapeake

The Michigan attorney general's (AG) office has begun mailing claim forms to about 700 residents in Northern Michigan who may have been affected by a racketeering and bid-rigging scheme involving Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 2010 that caused lease prices on their land to plummet. In April, Chesapeake agreed to create the fund to settle multiple antitrust, fraud and racketeering charges brought by AG Bill Schutte (see Daily GPIApril 24June 25, 2014June 5, 2014). Landowners had claimed they were notified by Chesapeake land representatives in 2010 concerning leasing their land, but nearly all of the leases were later canceled. Chesapeake also was charged with colluding with Encana Corp. during a 2010 state oil and gas leasing auction to suppress prices (see Daily GPI, March 19, 2014June 26, 2012). Encana settled in 2014 and agreed to pay $5 million. Chesapeake pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge each for attempted antitrust violation and false pretenses. If Chesapeake abides by the settlement terms, the misdemeanor charges would be dismissed in March and all other criminal charges would be dismissed by the state. The claims period ends Feb. 25. Questions should be directed to the AG's Division of Corporate Oversight at (517) 373-1160.

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