Representatives of two energy companies that are accused of colluding to keep bids low on oil and gas leases have appeared in a northern Michigan court to face criminal charges.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced March 5 that he filed antitrust charges against Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp.
The companies appeared Wednesday for arraignment before Cheboygan District Court Judge Maria Barton. The judge set $20,000 bonds for each company and scheduled a probable-cause hearing for May 5-8.
Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake and Calgary, Alberta-based Encana have denied that they colluded on the bids in 2010 and say they'll fight the charges.
The charges carry a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment for individuals and a fine of up to $1 million for corporations.