The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Arcadia, Parnon Energy and two private citizens of manipulating crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the first quarter of 2008.
The claim states that the oil traders manipulated oil markets through trading activity that made it appear there were shortages of West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil that the traders were later able to profit by more than $50 million during the first quarter of 2008.
Arcadia denied the claim, saying it never had a significant trading position during the first quarter of 2008, before oil prices hit $147 in the U.S. market.
"Arcadia has reviewed extensively the facts related to our trading over this period more than three years ago and we are confident that no manipulation was attempted or occurred, and that no laws were broken," said Colin Hurley, Arcadia chief financial officer, in a statement quoted by the Financial Times.
U.S. President Barack Obama called for an investigation into the oil markets as American consumers began to feel the pressure at the gasoline pump, although the investigation that drew the current charges began in 2008. The Financial Times notes the CFTC is wading into untested waters with its latest claims.