(CN) – Investors claim in a federal class action that Energy Transfer LP secured permits to conduct a multibillion-dollar pipeline project in Pennsylvania through bribery.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas representing investors who purchased Energy Transfer stock between Feb. 25, 2017 and Nov. 11, 2019. The Dallas-based company provides energy-related services in the United States and China, with its most recent venture being a $5.1 billion pipeline project, called the Mariner East pipeline, to carry liquid natural gas across Pennsylvania.
According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 13, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) approved permits in the final regulatory step before commencing construction of the pipeline.
The suit alleges that throughout the class period, Energy Transfer executives failed to disclose that permits to conduct the Mariner East pipeline project were secured via bribery or other improper conduct, opening the company and its employees to investigations.
By November 2019, it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into whether Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration forced the PADEP to approve construction permits and whether Wolf or his staff received anything in return.
News of the ongoing investigation caused Energy Transfer’s share price to fall 6.77%, closing at $11.16 per share on November 13, 2019, the suit says. Energy Transfer shares closed November 25 at $12.30 per share.
The class is represented by Willie C. Briscoe in Dallas, Jeremy A. Lieberman and J. Alexander Hood II of Pomerantz LLP in New York, and Patrick V. Dahlstrom in Chicago.