Enron's Skilling told to report for charity work as part of bail terms

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The Independent Online

Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, has been ordered to work for a charity which builds homes for poor families as he awaits trial on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes relating to the collapse of the energy giant.

Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, has been ordered to work for a charity which builds homes for poor families as he awaits trial on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes relating to the collapse of the energy giant.

Mr Skilling, whose sentence could amount to as much as 325 years in prison, was told to work for the not-for-profit organisation, Habitat for Humanity, as part of the bail agreement laid down by Frances Stacy, a federal magistrate in Houston, Texas. He also had to hand over a $5m (£2.8m) bond to the court.

Mr Skilling's lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, confirmed that Mr Skilling, a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, would work for the organisation. It is understood that he will spend some time working in a warehouse in Houston which stocks materials for the charity.

As well as a sentence that could be several lifetimes in length, Mr Skilling may also have to pay $80m in fines if convicted. He has denied all of the charges.

Mr Skilling was indicted in February on 35 different counts, including allegations that he netted $63m from insider trading in the year and a half to September 2001, about a month after he quit Enron, based in Houston.

Mr Petrocelli has tried to distance his client from other high-profile former executives of Enron by arguing that Mr Skilling has co-operated fully with investigators. This is in contrast to some of Enron's other directors, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment before the Congressional inquiry into Enron's collapse in 2001 and refused to give details of the controversial way in which the company was run.

So far, three of the executives who ran Enron have been accused of criminal wrongdoing. As well as Mr Skilling, Kenneth Lay, the company's founder, and Richard Causey, who was its chief accounting officer, each face a criminal trial.

The hearings, eagerly awaited by the thousands of investors and Enron employees who lost money when the company imploded, are set to begin next March.

Mr Lay has pressed for his case to be heard separately from that of Mr Skilling, his former protégé. Mr Lay faces a narrower set of charges than those of Mr Skilling and Mr Causey, both of whom are pressing the Texan courts for another year and a half to prepare for their trials. The court will decide in October whether the trials should be split up.

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