UPDATE 1-SandRidge is target of antitrust grand jury probe-filing

Thu May 7, 2015 7:07pm EDT
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By Anna Driver and Joshua Schneyer

HOUSTON May 7 (Reuters) - SandRidge Energy Inc is the target of federal grand jury probe concerning violations of antitrust law related to the leasing of oil and gas properties, the company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma company said the transactions subject to the government's inquiry date from 2012 and prior years, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We are taking the matter very seriously and continue to work with the DOJ in the course of the investigation, however we will not comment beyond our disclosures," said Jeff Wilson, vice president of government and public affairs at SandRidge.

SandRidge was told April 7 by the U.S. Department of Justice it is a target of an Oklahoma grand jury, the filing said.

SandRidge's former chief executive officer Tom Ward was ousted by the company's board in January 2013 after the company's biggest investors alleged governance lapses and strategic missteps.

Aubrey McClendon, who co-founded Chesapeake Energy with Ward in 1989, is also under investigation by the DOJ for potential violations related to leasing oil and gas properties, according to a regulatory filing last month from a McClendon-affiliated firm.

McClendon, now CEO of American Energy Partners, did not immediately respond to emailed questions seeking comment on whether he is subject to any grand jury investigation. Ward did not respond to a message requesting comment left at his Oklahoma-based oil and gas firm.   Continued...