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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
The rise and fall of Enron
The conviction of former Enron bosses Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay for conspiracy and fraud marked the end to a scandal that gripped corporate America. But less than two months later, Mr Lay died of a heart attack while awaiting sentencing.

1985 - Houston Natural Gas merges with InterNorth to form Enron.

1986 - Kenneth Lay becomes chief executive of Enron.

1990 - Lay hires former management consultant Jeffrey Skilling to look after the companies energy trading operation. Andrew Fastow, who later becomes the architect of the firm's dubious accounting practices, is one of his first hires.

1997 - Skilling is promoted to be Enron's president and chief operating officer. Fastow creates a series of companies - codenamed Chewco and Jedi - designed to keep debt away from Enron's books while inflating the firm's profits.

1999 - Fastow sets up the first of the LJM partnerships, which generate huge windfalls for him and his associates, while hiding Enron's many poorly performing assets and investments.

2000 - In August Enron shares reach a peak of $90.

2001 - The year of Enron's downfall.

  • March - business magazine Fortune first raises the question "How, exactly, does Enron make its money?"
  • August - an Enron employee, Sherron Watkins, meets Lay to alert him to her concerns about dodgy finance and accounting practices at the firm.
  • October - On 16 October Enron shocks the markets by announcing a $638m loss for the past three month, and write-offs worth $1.2bn; three days later the US stockmarket watchdog launches an inquiry into Enron's finances. A week later Fastow is sacked.
  • November - Enron agrees to be bought by rival firm Dynegy. Shortly thereafter Enron announces even further losses and previously not disclosed debt. As Enron's share price falls below $1, Dynegy breaks off the takeover talks.
  • December - Enron declares itself bankrupt.
2002
  • January - Lay resigns.
  • March - Enron's auditor, Arthur Andersen, is indicted over the shredding of tons of Enron-related documents; the multinational company is later fined for its actions and falls apart as customers depart in droves.
  • October - Fastow indicted for conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and other charges.
2004
  • January - Fastow pleads guilty and agrees to a 10-year prison sentence
  • February - Skilling indicted on 30 charges, including conspiracy, fraud and insider trading.
  • July - Lay indicted.
2006 -
  • 25 May - Lay and Skilling are found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and other charges.
  • 5 July - Kenneth Lay dies of a heart attack at his holiday home in Aspen, Colorado.





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