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CHICAGO -- Four BP America Inc. employees -- three of which are the company's natural-gas traders, the other, a company vice president -- pleaded not guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy charges in a federal court here to accusations of attempting to corner the U.S. propane
market in February 2004, Bloomberg News reported.
Traders Cody Claborn and Carrie Kienenberger, supervisor Mark Radley and James Summers, the vice president for natural-gas liquids, stated their pleas before U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, according to
An indictment filed Oct. 25, and cited by Bloomberg News stated the defendants and another BP trader who pleaded guilty "conspired to corner the market and manipulate the price of propane."
BP has already agreed to pay $303 million to settle claims that it manipulated the propane market.
CSNews Online reported at the time that while the company was cleared of the claims, the employees
would still face investigations.
As part of the settlement, BP agreed to pay a civil fine of $125 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $100 million to the Justice Department, $53.3 million to a restitution fund meant for purchasers of BP's propane, and $25 million to a U.S. Postal
Service consumer fraud education fund, the report stated.
A BP spokesman did not return a call to Bloomberg News seeking comment.