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Wide-Ranging Oil Industry Investigation Unveiled

In what it called an extraordinary step, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently disclosed a wide-ranging investigation into potential fraud, manipulation and abusive trading practices in the oil markets. The agencys far-reaching investigation, pending since December 2007, reaches all practices surrounding the purchase, transportation, storage, and trading of crude oil and related derivative contracts. The agency also announced the formation of an interagency task force - including the Federal Reserve, the Department of the Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture - to study, among other things, ''the role of speculators and index traders in the commodity markets.''

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