UPDATE 5-Chesapeake probe finds no 'intentional' CEO misconduct

Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:01pm EST
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* Departing CEO McClendon did no "intentional" wrong -probe

* Civil, criminal investigations continue

* Chesapeake reports quarterly earnings on Thursday

By Anna Driver and Brian Grow

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Wednesday its internal investigation of the financial dealings of outgoing chief executive Aubrey McClendon found no "intentional" wrongdoing, but authorities and analysts said the issue was far from over.

The company's statement also said a review by its board of directors found Chesapeake "did not violate antitrust laws" as it acquired oil and gas rights in Michigan in 2010.

The company did not say how it reached its conclusions and did not release a full report of its investigation, and state and federal investigations of the company continue.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is examining McClendon's financial transactions, while the Department of Justice and the attorney general in Michigan are investigating whether Chesapeake violated antitrust laws.

"The importance of independent - rather than internal - investigations cannot be emphasized enough in a case involving antitrust bid-rigging allegations," said a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. "Our thorough, independent investigation into these serious allegations will continue."   Continued...