Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., was charged Tuesday with orchestrating a conspiracy not to compete for oil and gas leases in northwest Oklahoma, the Justice Department said.
The DOJ explained in a statement:
During this conspiracy, which ran from December 2007 to March 2012, the conspirators would decide ahead of time who would win the leases. The winning bidder would then allocate an interest in the leases to the other company. McClendon instructed his subordinates to execute the conspiratorial agreement, which included, among other things, withdrawing bids for certain leases and agreeing on the allocation of interests in the leases between the conspiring companies.
Each violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals, the DOJ said.
McClendon left Chesapeake in 2013 and founded American Energy Partners. According to ESPN, he also owns an estimated 20 percent of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.
Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma reported for our newscast unit:
"A spokesman for [Chesapeake], which was not named in the indictment, said it has been cooperating with federal authorities for some time. McClendon could not be reached for comment."