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 February 2002: Hearings
 The Enron affair takes centre stage on Capitol Hill

The shockwaves of a corporate crash are always keenly felt - but few failures have led to the kind of investigations Enron and its managers now face.

February opened with the publication of the company's own internal investigation into the crash.

William Powers, the academic who chaired the report, didn't pull any punches when he pinned the blame firmly on executives who had personally benefited from the partnerships to the tune of millions of dollars.

"There was a fundamental default of leadership and management," he said.

"We found a systematic and pervasive attempt by Enron's management to misrepresent the company's financial condition."

Congress continued hearings began in December as America and investors around the world demanded answers.

Four of Enron's most senior executives pleaded Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refused to testify: Andrew Fastow, chief risk officer Richard Buy, finance executive Michael Kopper and Kenneth Lay himself.

Jeff Skilling did testify but insisted that he knew nothing of the complex web of intra-company deals that are almost impossible for ordinary investors to unravel.

On Valentine's Day, the woman who originally raised fears of an "implosion", took the stand.

Sherron Watkins said that Ken Lay and the board had been "duped" by Mr Fastow and Mr Skilling. Mr Lay had never really understood the gravity of the situation, she said.

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