Tags: Gary Southern | Freedom Industries | West Virginia | chemical company

Indicted Chemical Executive Wants his Bentley Back

By    |   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2014 08:14 AM

Gary Southern, ex-president of Freedom Industries, the West Virginia chemical company believed responsible for polluting the Elk River with coal-treatment chemicals that made the water undrinkable, has asked a federal judge to return his seized assets, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Freedom filed for bankruptcy protection about a week after the Jan. 9, 2014 spill.
Southern's lawyers told a federal judge that his 2012 Bentley, a home in Marco Island, Fla., and some $8 million in cash— all confiscated on orders of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin— were not earned by elicit activities and therefore shouldn't be subject to forfeiture.

The assets could one day go to paying off creditors as well as businesses damaged by the pollution, the Journal reported.

Southern was indicted for lying to a bankruptcy court about his responsibilities at Freedom Industries, for wire fraud, and for failure to operate a chemical-storage facility in a safe manner, the Journal reported.

Goodwin alleges Southern concealed his true role in the affair and that the forfeitures rest on sound legal and factual footing.

Southern, a British citizen, is alleged to have hidden his role by selling and buying companies. He argues that any money he made off the sales was earned before the pollution took place and should not be subject to forfeiture.

Some 300,000 people were affected by the spill with 400 treated at hospitals for vomiting and dizziness after being exposed to the chemical, The New York Times reported.

Southern denies all charges. He faces up to 68 years in prison, according to the Times.

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Gary Southern, ex-president of Freedom Industries, the West Virginia chemical company believed responsible for polluting the Elk River with coal-treatment chemicals that made the water undrinkable, has asked a federal judge to return his seized assets.
Gary Southern, Freedom Industries, West Virginia, chemical company
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2014-14-31
Wednesday, 31 Dec 2014 08:14 AM
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