A commodities trader filed suit against BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil in a U.S. federal court, accusing the companies of colluding to fix prices in North Sea Brent crude oil.
Prime International Trading Ltd, in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in the courthouse in White Plains, New York on Wednesday, accused the oil companies of misreporting prices of trades in the North Sea benchmark, which sets the price of about 70 percent of the world's oil.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a European Commission probe into potential market abuse involving the reporting of false prices to price-setting agency Platts, a unit of McGraw-Hill. Authorities last week raided the London bureau of Platts and the offices of the three oil majors named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accused the oil companies of reporting "inaccurate, misleading and false information" about Brent crude to Platts. Platts' information is used to price and settle oil contracts.
Phone calls and emails to the oil companies seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Filed in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges violations of the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act and Sherman Antitrust Law.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan, additional reporting by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)