A federal investigation into Chesapeake Energy Corp. and outgoing CEO Aubrey McClendon is continuing, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Chesapeake said the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Fort Worth, TX regional office had advised the operator on Dec. 21 that its inquiry was continuing “as an investigation, and it has issued subpoenas for information and testimony.” In the SEC 10-K filing, Chesapeake said it is “also responding to related inquiries from other governmental and regulatory agencies and self-regulatory agencies.”

Last May, Chesapeake and McClendon received notice from the SEC that it had launched an informal inquiry “into, among other things, certain of the matters alleged” in some lawsuits (see Daily GPI, May 4, 2012). The federal inquiry began shortly after McClendon was stripped of his role as chairman.

At that time, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson asked the Department of Justice to investigate Chesapeake for possible price manipulation and fraud following a report by Reuters that McClendon may have run Heritage Management Co., a private hedge fund that traded commodities, for at least four years, from 2004 to 2008. Heritage, which was co-founded by SandRidge Energy Inc. CEO Tom Ward — Chesapeake’s co-founder — had listed Chesapeake’s Oklahoma City headquarters as its mailing address (see Daily GPI, May 3, 2012).

McClendon is retiring effective April 1 following what he characterized as some “philosophical differences” with the board of directors (see Daily GPI, Jan. 31). Last month the board said a lengthy internal investigation of McClendon’s controversial financial transactions “did not reveal any improper benefit” to him “or increased cost to the company as a result of the overlap in financial relationships” (see Daily GPI, Feb. 21). Included in the review were the trading activities at Heritage, as well as McClendon’s sole participation in the Founder Well Participation Program, which allows him to receive into 2014 a percentage on every well the company drills.

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