You are hereWashington Post: Massey official charged with lying to FBI in mine investigation

Washington Post: Massey official charged with lying to FBI in mine investigation

February 28, 2011- The security chief of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine was arrested Monday and charged with obstructing the investigation into last year's explosion that killed 29 miners, the first criminal charges stemming from the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years.

Hughie Elbert Stover, who also headed security at two other Massey operations, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in West Virginia on charges of lying to the FBI and trying to dispose of key documents. The indictment was unsealed Monday.

Stover provided personal security for former Massey chief executive Don L. Blankenship, who retired in December, according to sources familiar with the federal and state investigations into the mine accident. "He was very very close to Blankenship,'' said one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is continuing. "He would drive Blankenship places. He called him 'Mr. B.' ''

The indictment offers no insight into the cause of the April 5 blast at the Montcoal, W.Va., mine, which is owned by Richmond-based Massey. But experts said the charges suggest that the Justice Department is exploring possible criminal liability. Massey had been cited for numerous safety violations before the explosion.

"They are being thorough and they are being comprehensive,'' said Davitt McAteer, chair of an independent West Virginia state commission that also is probing the disaster. McAteer is a former head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

It is unclear whether an attorney for Stover has been named. Stover has not entered a plea; he is scheduled to appear in federal court March 15.



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