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Attorney General Holder cites "disturbing" information on gas prices

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
  • Justice Department task force is probing potential price gouging
  • Announcements expected next week, aides say

Washington (CNN) -- Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday "there are a couple of things that are disturbing" as the government launches its oil and gas fraud task force investigation into sharply rising gasoline prices.

In a meeting with reporters at the Justice Department, Holder declined to describe the "disturbing" matters, but made clear the broad investigation into potential fraud and other illegal activities would carefully comb industry information to search for wrongdoing.

Holder aides say they expect announcements next week. The task force is gearing up to look for price gouging, but will not yet include any criminal or civil charges.

"We are only in the very beginning phases of the investigation," Holder told reporters at the off-camera session in his office.

Holder's comments came as he was pressed about how his announcement of a task force would be different from similar announcements made by previous administrations when gas prices spiked, but that did not yield any prosecutions.

Holder acknowledged Tuesday that "market forces" largely control gasoline prices, but said authorities must be on the lookout for those who would take advantage of consumers.