Senator seeks probe into impact of alleged EU oil price manipulation

WASHINGTON Fri May 17, 2013 2:06pm EDT

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) speaks to the media after the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) speaks to the media after the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on December 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the Senate's energy committee asked the Justice Department on Friday to investigate whether alleged price manipulation by three oil companies in Europe has boosted fuel prices for U.S. consumers.

"Efforts to manipulate the European oil indices, if proven, may have already impacted U.S. consumers and businesses, because of the interrelationships among world oil markets and hedging practices," Senator Ron Wyden, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

European anti-trust investigators raided the offices of Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP on Tuesday in search of evidence of possible price manipulation on oil markets.

Wyden asked the Justice Department to also investigate whether oil market manipulation was taking place in the United States.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Ros Krasny and Carol Bishopric)

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