For those of you who have been following the Massey Energy story, the Mine Workers (UMWA) passed along this news yesterday:
United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that a federal grand jury today returned an indictment charging Donald L. Blankenship, former Chief Executive Officer of Massey Energy Company, with four criminal offenses. The indictment charges Blankenship with conspiracy to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards, conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials, making false statements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and securities fraud. The indictment alleges that from about Jan. 1, 2008, through about April 9, 2010, Blankenship conspired to commit and cause routine, willfulÂ violations of mandatory federal mine safety and health standards at Massey Energyâ€™s Upper Big Branch mine, located in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The indictment alleges that during this same period of time, Blankenship was part of a conspiracy to impede and hinderÂ federal mine safety officials from carrying out their duties at Upper Big Branch by providing advance warningÂ of federal mine safety inspection activities, so their underground operations could conceal and cover upÂ safetyÂ violations that they routinely committed.
The indictment further alleges that after aÂ major, fatal explosionÂ occurred at Upper Big Branch on April 5, 2010,Â Blankenship made and caused to be made false statements and representations to the SEC concerning Massey Energyâ€™s safety practices prior to the explosion. Additionally, the indictment alleges that, after this explosion, Blankenship made and caused to be made materiallyÂ false statements and representations, as well as materially misleading omissions, in connection with the purchase and sale of Massey Energy stock.
TheÂ FBI and the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General are in charge of the investigation. United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, Counsel to the United States Attorney Steven Ruby and Assistant United States Attorney Gabriele Wohl are handling the prosecution. The four counts charged carry a maximum combined penalty of 31 yearsâ€™ imprisonment.
Click hereÂ to view a copy of the indictment. An indictment is only an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Massey Energy Upper Big Branch (W. Va.) deadly blastÂ killed 29Â inÂ 2010. Families of the victims reacted to the indictment yesterday.
This article originally appeared in AFL-CIO.org on November 14, 2014. Reprinted with permission. http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Corporate-Greed/Former-Massey-Energy-CEO-Indicted
About the Author: Jackie TortoraÂ isÂ the blog editor and social media manager at the AFL-CIO.