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Ex-Massey coal executive sentenced to prison

11 Sep 2013

The former president of a Massey Energy Co. unit was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for conspiring to violate mine safety laws, the Justice Department said.

David C. Hughart, former president of Massey's Green Valley Coal Co., admitted to conspiring to violate safety standards at various mines and to hiding violations by warning mine operators when federal inspectors were on their way, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Hughart's attorney couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

The criminal investigation into the actions of Mr. Hughart and other Massey executives began after a 2010 explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 miners.

Prosecutors have said that safety laws were routinely violated at Massey to maximize profits. Mr. Hughart, who is 54, wasn't directly involved in the management of Upper Big Branch, which was operated by Massey's Performance Coal subsidiary.

Mr. Hughart--the highest-ranking official ever accused of conspiring to impede federal mine safety officials, according to the Justice Department--will be subject to an additional three years of supervised release, the Justice Department said. His sentence was one year more than federal guidelines advise.

Massey was acquired by Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR) in 2011. A representative for Alpha Natural couldn't be reached for comment.

Source: online.wsj.com