Aubrey McClendon, one of the leaders of the Marcellus Shale revolution in Pennsylvania, said he is fighting federal charges that claim he rigged bids to buy oil and gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
The U.S. Department of Justice said he led the scheme from December 2007 to March 2012 while he was CEO of Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy. No companies or other conspirators were named in the indictment.
McClendon said the charges are “wrong and unprecedented” and he’s the only person in the industry who has been charged under the Sherman Act for joint bidding.
Violations of the federal antitrust statute are punishable with up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the Justice Department.
“All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans,” McClendon said in a statement. “I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.”
McClendon resigned as Chesapeake’s CEO in April 2013 amid a shareholder revolt and allegations that he used company employees and a corporate jet for personal use. He denied any wrongdoing.
The day after he left Chesapeake, he founded American Energy Partners and is currently its chairman and CEO. The company secures and distributes investments in oil and gas fields.