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Pemex files suit against five U.S. firms

HOUSTON, June 8 (UPI) -- A lawsuit filed in Houston alleges that five U.S. firms conspired to steal liquefied natural gas worth up to $300 million from Pemex of Mexico.

The lawsuit names BASF Corp., Murphy Energy Corp., Trammo Petroleum, Bio Nu Southwest Inc. and U.S. Petroleum Depot, all Texas companies, and six middlemen, accusing them of stealing the gas in a scheme that began in 2006, the San Antonio, Texas, Express News reported Tuesday.

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Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company.

The suit was filed two week after the former chief executive officer of Continental Fuels, Tim Brink, pleaded guilty in a connected case.

The former vice president of Continental Fuels, Joshua Crescenzi, who cooperated with authorities, caught Brink on tape discussing the stolen gas, the newspaper reported.

BASF and Murphy Energy have both said they did not know the petroleum condensate, or LNG, was stolen.

"We feel as victimized as Pemex," said Joel Androphy, an attorney representing Murphy Energy.

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