Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Enron trial: Lay, Skilling found guilty

Former Enron chief executives Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay were found guilty on Thursday of fraud and conspiracy charges related to the spectacular 2001 meltdown of the energy giant.

Skilling (52) was found guilty of 19 of 28 counts of fraud and conspiracy and faces a maximum penalty of 185 years in jail.

Enron founder Lay (64) was found guilty of all six charges relating to the period after he resumed chief-executive duties and faces a maximum of 165 years in jail.

The case, one of the most-complex corporate crime cases in United States legal history, represents the most high-profile test for the government’s crackdown on corporate wrongdoing.

The conviction was a vindication for the government’s Enron taskforce, set up in the aftermath of one of the worst scandals in recent history, which hurt confidence in corporate America.

Enron’s collapse was the biggest corporate bankruptcy in history at the time, precipitated by revelations that the company had used questionable accounting and arcane financing vehicles to hide an estimated $40-billion debt.

Lay and Skilling not only maintained their innocence, but asserted that Enron was financially sound and brought down by unflattering news reports and a conspiracy of short-sellers. Their defence team argued that the nine former Enron employees who implicated Skilling and Lay were coerced to lie in order to avoid costly trials and potentially steep jail sentences. — AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

‘The children cannot cope any more’: Suicide in Calvinia highlights...

How Covid-19 has intensified the physical and emotional burdens placed on children’s shoulders.

More top stories

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

Covid-19: No vaccine booster shots needed yet

Scientists agree it is important to get most of the population vaccinated before giving booster jabs

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…