Tuesday :: Apr 25, 2006

Enron's Kenneth Lay's Claims of Innocence

by Mary

Kenneth Lay is having his day in court. He's testified that he is innocent of all charges and that it was all Andrew Fastow's and the Wall Street Journal's fault that Enron collapsed. He was just an innocent dupe.

Lay claims that all his problems came from stepping into the role after Skilling left, and that he had nothing to do with any of the problems. And as this NPR report says, indeed, all of the charges in this case that have been brought against Kenny-boy reflect the actions he took after he picked up the reins on Skilling's departure. (Although this story is slightly disengenious since there is another case that is winding its way through the courts where the charges concern matters from before Lay's final days in charge.)

It is clear to anyone who has been following this story that Mr. Lay was far from innocent in the fraud that his company perpetrated on the American public. His story that Enron was a dream company except for the shenanigans of Fastow and the dire warnings of the WSJ is a bunch of bunk. As CFO, Mr. Fastow certainly did not create the culture of corruption that had the Enron traders gleefully talking about ripping off Grandma Millie. That type of culture is created and sponsored by those at the top. Mr. Lay can proclaim to the day he dies that he was a "hands off" manager and not responsible for the bad acts of his subordinates, but he clearly was responsible for the people he put in charge and it was his job to investigate the charges of corruption when they came into his office.

[Listen to the NPR piece to catch the claim that Lay said he didn't look into Watkin's report about the fraud because it was anonymous. His chutzpah is only matched by that of his very good friend, George W Bush.]

So far, Kenny-boy has been only answering the questions the defense attorney has been asking (and it's clear that Lay's fed the questions to the guy). Let's see if Kenny-boy is quite so cavalier when answering the questions from the prosecution. Perhaps they'll ask him to explain how his "honorable" company was caught milking the California energy crisis for billions of dollars by fraudulent methods. Life without parole seems appropriate for the man who stole so much from so many with such little apology.

Mary :: 10:00 PM :: Comments (7) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!