(Reuters) - U.S. energy regulators sought over $3.5 million from global energy trader Vitol SA and one of its employees for alleged manipulation of the power market in California in 2013, according to a filing by the regulator.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in a filing released late Friday that it assessed civil penalties of $1,515,738 against Vitol and $1 million against Federico Corteggiano, one of Vitol’s traders.
In addition, FERC directed Vitol to disgorge unjust profits plus interest of $1,227,143.
Vitol said in an email that it “believes that its conduct was lawful and intends to defend itself in the appropriate forum.”
FERC alleged that Vitol and Corteggiano violated federal market manipulation rules through a scheme to sell physical power at a loss to cause prices in another market to react.
Corteggiano joined Vitol in 2012. In 2013, he generated at least $13 million profits for Vitol trading, according to the FERC filing.
FERC said its Office of Enforcement started its investigation against Vitol in February 2014 following a tip from an unnamed market participant in December 2013.
In July 2019 ordered Vitol and Corteggiano to show why they should not be fined $6 million and $800,000, respectively.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy