ASC Reaches Settlement with Former High Plains Energy CFO and VP of Operations

    CALGARY, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has
concluded a settlement with High Plains Energy's former chief financial
officer, Vincent Emile Ghazar, and vice-president of operations, Leslie Ryan
Stevenson, regarding allegations they allowed false or misleading statements
in High Plains Energy news releases.
    Ghazar paid $40,000 to settle the allegations and $7,500 towards costs
and agreed to refrain from acting as an officer of any issuer for three years.
Stevenson agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the allegations and $7,500 towards
costs and agreed to refrain from acting as an officer of any issuer for four
    High Plains Energy (now Action Energy Inc.) issued a series of news
releases between July 2005 and January 2006 that contained inflated rates of
production. In his settlement agreement, Stevenson admitted that he acted
contrary to the public interest by "not exercising the diligence and care
required of his role and position with High Plains, to ensure that High
Plains' production numbers were accurately disclosed in press releases."
Ghazar admitted in his settlement agreement that he breached Alberta
securities laws when he went along with High Plains Energy in making
misleading and untrue statements in the news releases noted above.
    An ASC panel held a hearing into similar allegations against High Plains
Energy's president on February 17, 2009. A decision in this matter is pending.
    Copies of the Settlement Agreements are posted on the ASC website at

    The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the
province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient
capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the
Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and
harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.

For further information:

For further information: For Media Inquiries: Mark Dickey, Senior
Communications Advisor, (403) 297-4481; For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public
Inquiries, Toll Free 1-877-355-4488

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