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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent