Business

Former Chesapeake Energy chief dies in car crash

Former head of Chesapeake Energy Aubrey McClendon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former head of Chesapeake Energy Aubrey McClendon

The former chief executive of Chesapeake Energy was killed in a car crash on Wednesday, a day after he was accused of fixing bids for oil and gas leases.

Police reported Aubrey McClendon, 56, was the only person in the vehicle when it smashed into a concrete pillar.

He was charged on Tuesday with conspiring with two energy companies to rig the price of oil and gas contracts.

Mr McClendon, who stepped down from Chesapeake in 2013, denied the charges.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said: "Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws."

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but said the car was so badly burnt it was difficult to tell if Mr McClendon had been wearing a seatbelt.

A spokesperson for Oklahoma City police said the former energy boss "drove straight into the wall".

Anti-trust charges

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice accused Mr McClendon of having been involved in an anti-trust scheme between 2007 and 2012.

The scheme involved two companies - which the Justice Department did not name - deciding who would have the winning bid for oil and gas leases ahead of the offer and then splitting the contract after it was awarded.

Mr McClendon stepped down as the head of Chesapeake Energy in 2013 amid concerns about his heavy spending and its corporate governance. He was considered to be one of the fathers of the US fracking industry.

He went on to found American Energy Partners and was was also a co-owner of US basketball team the Oklahoma City Thunder.