Enron could lead to criminal charges
graphic February 5, 2002: 7:03 p.m. ET

House panel could issue third subpoena to former CEO Lay, lawmakers said.
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  • Lay to testify - Feb. 5, 2002
    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The collapse of Enron Corp. could lead to criminal charges for some of those involved in the scandal, lawmakers told Lou Dobbs Moneyline Tuesday.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony Tuesday from William Powers, author of a key report that blasted how Enron handled the special partnerships that hid debts and enriched some of its executives.

    "They literally got employees of Enron to join in with them," said Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, after hearing the Powers testimony.

    The report revealed that many of the deals put together by Enron and Fastow had nothing to do with any economic benefit but with hiding Enron's massive debt load from investors.

    "If the report is accurate there may be some criminal charges," Tauzin added.

    Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, echoed these beliefs later. "A few good criminal prosecutions would be a good conclusion," Dingell told Moneyline.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee may also end up issuing a subpoena to former Enron CEO Ken Lay and force the executive to testify, Tauzin said.

    The subpoena would be the third for Lay. Already the House Financial Services Committee has served Lay with a subpoena while the Senate Commerce Committee is also issuing a subpoena to Lay via fax, a committee spokesman said late Tuesday.

    Lay is scheduled to appear on Valentines Day, Feb. 14, before the subcommittee on capital markets, of the House Financial Services Committee. The Senate panel is requesting Lay's appearance before them on Feb. 12, the spokesman said.

    Enron's former CEO Jeff Skilling is slated to appear before the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, part of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on Thursday.

    Skilling will appear Thursday and is expected to testify. Andrew Fastow, former Enron Chief Financial Officer, will also appear voluntarily, but his lawyers have told congressional investigators that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment. Another Enron executive, Michael Kopper, a managing partner that worked for Fastow, has also been subpoenaed.

    "We are told that Fastow and Koppers will probably take the Fifth," Tauzin said. "But Skilling is anxious to testify."

    Skilling, who resigned last August from Enron, is credited as one of the designers of Enron's off-the-book transactions.

    "It will be interesting to find out what he knew about all deals," Tauzin said. graphic


    Lay to testify - Feb. 5, 2002