Enron 'manipulated crisis in California'

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Californian leaders seized on new evidence yesterday that the state's energy crisis, which has cost billions of dollars in public funds, was the result of deliberate market manipulation by Enron, the now-bankrupt Texas energy trading company.

Internal company documents, released by the federal government as part of its investigation into Enron's collapse last year, show the company knowingly submitted false information to the Californian authorities and deliberately increased fears of electricity transmission congestion in a complex series of ploys to extract the maximum profit from the situation.

The documents, which are memos written by the company's lawyers,"are the smoking guns we always alleged," the president of California's Public Utilities Commission, Loretta Lynch, said. The state's senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, said they would ask for a criminal investigation.