Chesapeake Energy Corp was one of the great American success stories of recent times. But its charismatic founder, Aubrey McClendon, built his company on shakier ethical and financial foundations than anyone knew. A series of Reuters investigations changed all that, triggering criminal and civil investigations, a dramatic board shakeup and deep falls in the share price with each new revelation — more than $1 billion in secret personal loans for McClendon, his undisclosed $200-million hedge fund run from Chesapeake headquarters, his plot to fix prices for oil-and-gas land with an archrival. These matters came to light in a series of in-depth reports, each documented through meticulous reporting that has gone without challenge. The coverage has been especially significant because of Chesapeake's outsize influence over energy markets in the United States — where it is the top driller of gas wells, one of the biggest owners of land and the leading champion of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.