Energy: Spreading Oil Scandals

They could involve billions of dollars

Over lunch in Houston, a prominent lawyer voiced a highly unusual complaint. Business was so good, he said, that his firm was turning away many potential clients, sending them as far away as Washington and New York for counsel. The reason: so many oilmen are involved in the fast-widening scandal of illegally selling low-priced "old" oil as expensive "new" oil that Houston's attorneys cannot take on new clients without becoming involved in conflicts of interest. Says one Houston oil consultant: "It's such an interwoven web that I doubt...

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