Former Enron executives face fresh charges

New charges of criminal fraud, insider trading and money laundering were brought yesterday against nine former senior Enron executives. They include the chief financial officer Andrew Fastow and his wife, and virtually the entire top management of the group's short-lived internet broadband services unit.

The counts, formally unveiled in a Houston court, are the latest batch of charges brought by the US government in its inquiry of the $76bn (£48bn) energy group's collapse in 2001, at the time the largest corporate bankruptcy in US history.

The indictments, a Justice Department statement said, "are a significant milestone in our unabated efforts to expose and punish the vast array of criminal conduct related to the collapse of Enron Corporation". That investigation has already led to the conviction – and effective disappearance – of Enron's former auditor, Arthur Andersen.

For the first time the criminal focus has switched to the internet concern, Enron Broadband Services (EBS), a failure egregious even by Enron's standards. EBS, prosecutors say, never generated any revenue during its existence, terminated just before the parent company unravelled in autumn 2001.

Yet the indictments, paralleled by a separate civil complaint filed here yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, accuse five top executives of EBS of netting $186m by unloading Enron stock, even as they knew the subsidiary they ran was on the brink of failing.

But the moves that will attract the most notice are those against Mr Fastow and his wife Lea. Even before yesterday, Mr Fastow was already the most senior Enron officer in criminal trouble, facing 78 counts of embezzlement, fraud and insider trading. A further 31 charges have now been brought.

At the same time Mrs Fastow, a former assistant Enron treasurer, is being charged on six counts, including conspiracy to money launder, failing false tax returns and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mrs Fastow yesterday turned herself in at the Houston offices of the Internal Revenue Service.

Her husband is due to appear at a hearing in Houston on 19 May which will decide whether to extend his current freedom on bail of $5m. It was unclear last night whether the latest indictments will bring closer criminal action against Enron's two most senior executives, the former chairman Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who quit as chief executive months before the final collapse.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?