July 07, 2004
New Enron indictment

It may well be Kenny Boy, but the indictment is sealed so we don't know for sure yet.

The Enron grand jury delivered a sealed indictment in court today, and lawyers close to the case believe it contains charges against ex-Chairman Ken Lay and that he will likely surrender Thursday.

The foreman of the specially-called grand jury told U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy that at least 16 members were present and at least 12 voted for the indictment.

Presenting the indictment with the foreman were Enron Task Force prosecutors John Hueston and John Hemann, who are working on the Lay investigation and have taken witnesses before the grand jury in the last few months.

Prosecutors have quizzed grand jury about Lay's receipt of warnings of financial trouble and fraud at the company within weeks of then-CEO Jeff Skilling's August 2001 departure; Lay's encouraging public statements to investors and analysts after Skilling quit; and his attempt to find an alternative to substantially writing down the "goodwill" price paid for assets.

Lay is likely to be charged with some type of fraud, possibly similar to the charges against Skilling and former Chief Accounting Officer Rick Causey.

They are charged with insider trading, securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and lying on Enron financial statements. They are generally accused of manipulating earnings reports to hide Enron's failures from the investing public while reaping lucrative salaries, bonuses and other benefits.

Lay's defense attorney, Mike Ramsey, has insisted Lay is innocent and will not be indicted.

Several of the lawyers representing witnesses in the case speculate that rather than indict Lay separately, prosecutors will add Lay to the case against Skilling and Causey, meaning the three would be tried together.

The Enron grand jury was impaneled in March 2002 and prior to today had indicted 23 people on charges relating to the collapse on Enron. Those previously indicted by this group include bankers and 16 former Enron executives. Others have been charged and waived indictment.

Reuters says it is an indictment against Lay, but they say almost nothing more than that, so they seem to me to be taking a "Kerry picks Gephardt" kind of chance here. We should know more soon.

UPDATE: The Chron confirms that the indictment is against Kenny Boy.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 07, 2004 to Enronarama | TrackBack

The New York Post has announced that it is an indictment against Dick Gephardt.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on July 7, 2004 5:47 PM