- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

HOUSTON (AP) El Paso Corp.'s senior vice president and treasurer, Charles Dana Rice, was found dead Sunday, an apparent suicide, company officials said.
Houston police spokesman Joe Laud said Mr. Rice was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home at 1 p.m. Sunday. Police would not say if anyone else was home at the time.
The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office was conducting an autopsy, but declined to immediately provide any details.
Mr. Rice, 47, had worked for the energy company for 25 years, company spokeswoman Norma Dunn said yesterday.
Shares of El Paso plummeted after the news. El Paso's stock was down $5.06, or nearly 20 percent, to $20.59 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Mr. Rice's death comes amid turmoil in the energy sector over charges of bogus trades and accounting. Federal regulators are investigating simultaneous power swaps between energy traders that artificially boosted trading volume and added to revenue.
Last week, El Paso announced it would sharply reduce its energy-trading activities and focus on its core natural-gas businesses.
As part of the restructuring, the company said it would eliminate about 300 jobs within its trading group, cut in half its investment in trading activities to $1 billion and divide the segment into three separate divisions.
El Paso said it also would revamp its financial reporting so it is more simple and transparent.
The troubles in the industry are a continuation of the unraveling of Enron's overzealous accounting and trading maneuvers that spread to rivals and proved the once-mighty energy trader's downfall.

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