Indicted oil entrepreneur Aubrey McClendon killed in car crash after charges filed | News | DW | 03.03.2016
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Indicted oil entrepreneur Aubrey McClendon killed in car crash after charges filed

Chesapeake Energy co-founder Aubrey McClendon has died a day after being indicted on bid-rigging charges. Investigators have not ruled out that McClendon's fatal car crash was intentional.

On Wednesday, an SUV driven by Aubrey McClendon crashed head-on into a highway overpass in Oklahoma City, killing the co-founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy. No other passengers were in the vehicle at the time of the crash, and no other cars were involved in the accident.

"His vehicle was engulfed in flames immediately," said Oklahoma City Police Department captain Paco Balderrama in a video posted to the department's Facebook page.

Balderrama added that McClendon was traveling well over the speed limit without a seat belt and had plenty of time to correct after his vehicle started drifting off the road. He did not rule out that the accident was suicide, but said the medical examiner would determine the cause of death.

A day before the crash, the US Justice Department filed charges against McClendon for alleged violations of anti-trust laws. Specifically, the indictment stated McClendon had colluded to rig oil and gas bids as CEO of Chesapeake.

USA Aubrey McClendon

McClendon was well-known in the energy industry

The day the charges against him were filed, McClendon maintained his innocence in a statement.

"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," he said on Tuesday. "I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name."

McClendon, a pioneer of the fracking technique used to extract natural gas, was seen as one of America's top businessmen for his work in the oil and gas sector. He co-founded Chesapeake Energy in 1989, and the company eventually became the second-biggest natural gas producer in the US.

He was also part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team, which plays its home games in the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

mz/kms (Reuters, AP)

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