Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon was indicted Tuesday on federal charges of conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases.
The indictment, filed Tuesday in Oklahoma, alleges that McClendon led a conspiracy between two companies not to bid against one another for purchases of some leases in Oklahoma. The leases give a company the right to draw oil and natural gas from the land for a certain period of time.
The alleged conspiracy took place between December 2007 and March 2012, the indictment said. The companies are accused of deciding who would win the bids, then giving an interest in the leases to the other company. The Justice Department did not say which other company it believes was involved in the alleged scheme.
"While serving as CEO of a major oil and gas company, the defendant formed and led a conspiracy to suppress prices paid to leaseholders in northwest Oklahoma," said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer in a statement. "His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids for oil and gas rights on their land."