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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Enron prosecutors rest their case
Ken Lay (left) and Jeffrey Skilling at a pre-trial hearing in December
Both Mr Lay and Mr Skilling have always protested their innocence
US prosecutors dropped a number of charges against former Enron chief executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling as they rested their case on Tuesday.

Mr Skilling now faces 28 cases of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading, while Mr Lay faces six counts of conspiracy and fraud.

The defence is due to start making its case next Monday.

Enron collapsed in December 2001 after disclosures that it falsified accounts to hide debt and inflate profits.

Rogue employees

The prosecution dropped three charges brought against Mr Skilling and one charge brought against Mr Lay because they had not presented any evidence for them while presenting their case.

As they wound down, prosecutors disclosed that the two defendants were paid a combined salary of nearly $375m between 1999 and 2001.

ENRON FACTS
Founded in 1985 by Ken Lay
Originally a gas pipeline business
Moved to become an energy trader
21,000 staff when it collapsed in 2001

Mr Lay and Mr Skilling have pleaded not guilty to all charges, blaming Enron's collapse on what they call rogue employees such as former chief executive officer Andrew Fastow.

Mr Fastow has already testified to setting up partnerships designed to help the firm hide losses of millions of dollars.

He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is facing 10 years in jail.




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