Former Enron chief surrenders to FBI

The former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay surrendered to the FBI today to face criminal charges stemming from the 2001 collapse of the energy company he founded.

The former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay surrendered to the FBI today to face criminal charges stemming from the 2001 collapse of the energy company he founded.

Lay, who insists he knew nothing of any wrongdoing and was misled by underlings, was taken away with his hands cuffed behind him.

The federal indictment of Lay, 62, who also was Enron's chairman, caps an investigation that snared dozens of other employees and executives but took nearly three years to reach the man at the top.

Enron's collapse in late 2001 cost investors billions of dollars, put thousands of Enron employees out of work and wiped out retirement savings for many. The company, once admired, became a symbol of corporate greed and excess, and its fall was followed by a string of scandals at other companies.

Lay had been indicted Wednesday after a federal investigation that has produced charges against some of Lay's once most highly trusted lieutenants, including his hand–picked protege, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling.

The indictment was sealed and charges were expected to be disclosed later Thursday.

Lay, accompanied by a pastor, emerged from an SUV driven by his wife, Linda, and walked into Houston's FBI headquarters at dawn.

"Nice of you all to show up this morning," Lay told a throng of reporters.

About 20 minutes later, his hands behind him in cuffs, Lay was placed in a sedan with authorities for the drive to Houston's federal courthouse. After arriving there, he was led into the building through a back door.

He had said Wednesday he had committed no crimes.

"I have done nothing wrong, and the indictment is not justified," Lay, 62, said in a statement yesterday after learning of the indictment.

Prosecutors from the Justice Department's Enron Task Force presented an indictment to US Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy in Houston on Wednesday, and at their request she sealed both the indictment and an arrest warrant, sources told The Associated Press.

A hearing before Milloy was scheduled for 1530 GMT.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also was expected to bring civil fraud charges against Lay on Thursday, including making false and misleading statements and insider trading, a person familiar with the case said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Prosecutors have aggressively pursued the one–time celebrity CEO and friend and contributor to President Bush who led Enron's rise to No. 7 in the Fortune 500 and resigned within weeks of its stunning failure. Lay is the 30th and highest–profile individual charged.

Skilling succeeded Lay as CEO in February 2001 and resigned abruptly six months later, just weeks before the scandal broke. He was indicted in February on nearly three dozen counts of fraud and other crimes.

Waiting to testify for the prosecution is former finance chief Andrew Fastow, who pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts in January. Fastow admitted to orchestrating partnerships and financial schemes to hide Enron debt and inflate profits while pocketing millions of dollars for himself.

Enron's collapse led a series of corporate scandals that led to Congress' passage of sweeping reforms to securities laws with the Sarbanes–Oxley Act two years ago. Thousands of Enron's workers lost their jobs, and the stock fell from a high of $90 in August 2000 to just pennies, wiping out many workers' retirement savings.

The charges against Skilling and former top accountant Richard Causey, who was initially indicted a week after Fastow pleaded guilty, target actions over several years leading up to Enron's collapse. But allegations against Lay were expected to focus on his actions after he resumed the role of CEO upon Skilling's abrupt resignation in August 2001, the sources said.

Days after Skilling's resignation, Lay met privately with Sherron Watkins, then an executive on Fastow's staff, who had sent him a lengthy memo warning of impending doom from Fastow's myriad schemes to hide debt and inflate profits.

But Lay told The New York Times last month that he didn't believe the company had serious problems and trusted other senior managers – including Fastow and Causey – when they reassured him that all was fine.

Skilling and Causey are awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading. Both pleaded innocent and are free on bond.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

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 General

Lead Teacher of Thinking School Drive Team and Year 3 Form teacher

Competitive: Notting Hill Prep School: Spring Term 2015 Innovative, ambitious ...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is currently recruitin...

Year 6 Teacher - January start

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is urgently re...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past