Executive whose company leaked MCHM into West Virginian water supplies is charged with lying to deflect blame

The ex-president of Freedom Industries, which was responsible for a massive leak of (4-methylcyclohexyl)methanol (MCHM) in West Virginia, US, in January, was arrested on 8 December and charged with bankruptcy fraud and wire fraud.

Gary Southern’s arrest followed a criminal complaint from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which accuses him of making numerous false statements about his role at Freedom and his knowledge of conditions at the facility where the leak occurred.

FBI special agent James Lafferty concludes that Southern was trying to deflect blame for the leak, which left 300,000 residents without usable tap water for several days. Lafferty also alleges that Southern committed wire fraud to protect his personal wealth, estimated to be at least $7.7 million (£5 million).