The [defendants] were involved as outside players in some of the complex and controversial partnerships set up by Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and his aide Michael Kopper that critics have said eventually helped sink the company.
According to the Justice Department's charging document, the three bankers used a series of intricate financial transactions involving an Enron entity called Southampton LP to defraud the British bank they worked for.
The fraud occurred when the men secretly invested in Southampton, eventually reaping $7.3 million in profits that belonged to the bank that employed them, the Justice Department charged.
Southampton has been under scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators almost from the outset of the Enron debacle because of huge profits made by executives of the company and others from relatively tiny investments.
In early 2000, Fastow and Kopper each turned a $25,000 investment in Southampton into a $4.5 million gain within a few months, according to a special report released earlier this year by the Enron board.
Others, like former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan and lawyer Kristina Mordaunt also reaped huge cash payments from investments in Southampton.