Sen. Jay Rockefeller, also D-W.Va., said in a statement: “For more than four years, Upper Big Branch families have cried out for justice for their loved ones lost in that horrific tragedy. Today’s indictment of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is another step toward justice. But let me be clear: in my view, Don Blankenship, and the mines he once operated, treated miners and their safety with callousness and open disregard. As he goes to trial, he will be treated far fairer and with more dignity than he ever treated the miners he employed. And, frankly, it’s more than he deserves.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2014
FORMER MASSEY ENERGY CEO INDICTED
Donald Blankenship Faces Four Charges Including Conspiracy, Fraud and Making False Statements
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – 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 January 1, 2008, through about April 9, 2010, Blankenship conspired to commit and cause routine, willful violations of mandatory federal mine safety and health standards at Massey Energy’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 hinder federal mine safety officials from carrying out their duties at Upper Big Branch by providing advance warning of federal mine safety inspection activities, so their underground operations could conceal and cover up safety violations that they routinely committed.
The indictment further alleges that after a major, fatal explosion occurred at Upper Big Branch on April 5, 2010, Blankenship made and caused to be made false statements and representations to the SEC concerning Massey Energy’s safety practices prior to the explosion. Additionally, the indictment alleges that, after this explosion, Blankenship made and caused to be made materially false statements and representations, as well as materially misleading omissions, in connection with the purchase and sale of Massey Energy stock.
The 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 years’ imprisonment.
Click here to view a copy of the indictment. An indictment is only an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.