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Utah Gold and Silver Refiner, Top Managers Charged with Conspiracy to Violate Environmental Laws

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that a superseding indictment was returned by federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, charging the parent company of gold and silver refiner Johnson Matthey Inc. with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA). The UK-based corporate parent, Johnson Matthey PLC is a diversified multi-national specialty chemicals producer.

On Mar. 22, 2006, Johnson Matthey Inc. and two senior company managers were charged in a 29-count indictment with conspiracy, concealment by trick, scheme and device, and violations of the CWA. Specifically, the defendants conspired to conceal the high level of pollutants they discharged by cheating on required tests and submitting false information about the amount of selenium released into wastewater. Today’s superseding indictment alleges that the parent company played a role in conspiring to conceal the release of the contaminated wastewater into the sewers.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000 for the corporate defendants. Charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in federal court.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Lambert and Jared Bennett and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward for the District of Utah, and Richard Poole, Trial Attorney in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in Washington.