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Potential Reserve Sale Prompts Calpine to Disclose SEC Probe of Recent Revisions

Because the rest of its remaining U.S. natural gas reserves are now up for potential sale, San Jose, CA-based Calpine Corp. Thursday disclosed in a regulatory filing that the federal Securities and Exchange Commission has requested information and documents on the company's revision to its proved oil and natural gas reserves and its April restatement of earnings. The SEC's enforcement division made the request of the power plant developer/operator.

The federal regulators also are seeking additional information related to an unnamed former Calpine employee who was terminated in connection with other accounting moves taken by the company.

The former employee -- after being fired -- filed a claim with the U.S. Labor Department, alleging that his termination violated the employee protection or "whistleblower" provisions of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Subsequently the Labor Department "found that there was no reasonable cause to believe that the company violated [Sarbanes-Oxley] and dismissed the former employee's claim," according to Calpine's SEC filing, while noting that the former employee still has time to appeal the labor department ruling.

Calpine also disclosed in the filing that the SEC enforcement division asked the company in April to voluntarily provide documents and information related to: (a) Calpine's downward revision of its proved oil/gas reserve estimates at year-end 2004, compared to similar estimates at year-end 2003, (b) "certain statements made to various regulatory agencies by a terminated former employee regarding Calpine's determination of state sales and use taxes;" and (c) Calpine's upward revision of its 1Q2004 and 3Q2004 net income.

In the filing, Calpine also said it is "cooperating fully" with the SEC on these matters.

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