Fracking exec dies in freak car crash — one day after being indicted for conspiracy
A fracking executive who had just been indicted on conspiracy charges died after driving into a wall, according to CNBC.
Aubrey McClendon, former CEO and a founder of Chesapeake Energy, died Wednesday at the age of 56, after driving into a wall “at a high rate of speed,” according to police. The collision happened just one day after McClendon was indicted on charges of conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases.
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderama told CNBC.
Balderama told reporters that McClendon’s 2013 Chevy Tahoe burst into flames upon impact.
“It appears that speed was most definitely a factor in the fatality,” Balderama said.
According to CNBC, McClendon played a key role in the boom of U.S. shale gas. The alleged conspiracy took place between December 2007 and March 2012, in which two oil and gas companies agreed not to bid against each other for the purchase of leases in Oklahoma, thus suppressing the prices paid, according to the New York Times.
“His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land,” William J. Baer, assistant attorney general for Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a statement to the Times. “Executives who abuse their positions as leaders of major corporations to organize criminal activity must be held accountable for their actions.”
McClendon was forced to step down from the company three years ago. Tuesday night, he released a statement denying all charges.
“The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented,” McClendon told the Times. “I have been singled out as the only person in the oil and gas industry in over 110 years since the Sherman Act became law to have been accused of this crime in relation to joint bidding on leasehold.”
According to CNBC, “Chesapeake shares, which were already substantially higher Wednesday, briefly added to gains following news of McClendon’s death.”