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Company Enron [Company Info]
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Date Issue Title
10th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation I'm innocent says ex-Enron chief

Report
Former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling has said he is "absolutely innocent" of any charges linked to the firm's collapse.

He made the comments as he began what is viewed by experts as his "make or break" testimony against charges of fraud and conspiracy.

"I'm absolutely innocent," Mr Skilling said as he began his testimony at the federal court in Houston.

"The charges against me are wrong. I will fight those charges till the day I die."

During questioning by his defence lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, Mr Skilling also admitted he was nervous as "I guess in some ways my life is on the line".

As he began the questioning Mr Petrocelli noted that many of Mr Skilling's former colleagues had pleaded guilty to crimes associated with Enron's collapse, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.

During the trial, the defence has consistently argued that they were actually innocent and had been pushed into making guilty pleas to avoid trials or long prison sentences.

When asked whether he believed any of his former colleagues were guilty, Mr Skilling said he believed the "vast majority" who had testified were innocent.

He added that when he decided to resign from the firm after 11 years, he had done so to spend more time with his family.

However, he also admitted he had told Mr Lay he wanted to quit as he was concerned about Enron's falling stock price.

At its height, Enron was the seventh-biggest US firm and Mr Skilling had played a key role in building up the firm.

Mr Skilling has argued that he is innocent and claimed that Enron collapsed because of a lack of market confidence and a "run on the bank" situation when creditors called in loans and the firm did not have enough money to finance itself.

Both he and Mr Lay have laid the blame for the accounting problems at the door of Enron's former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. Mr Fastow has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is a prosecution witness.

Mr Lay, 63, is due to testify later this month. He faces six charges of fraud and conspiracy.

Analysts said that Mr Skilling's time on the stand could make or break his defence.

"His testimony may be his only opportunity to save himself," said Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor.

"But at the same time, he runs the risk of sealing his fate and almost guaranteeing his conviction if jurors find his testimony incredible."

Other Reports on Enron
Date Issue Company Report
26th Sep 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Fastow gets six-year term
13th Aug 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Prosecutors raise Enron boss fine
25th May 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Lay and Skilling guilty
15th May 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron bosses 'stole to pump egos'
11th May 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Judge deals blow to Enron accused
26th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron feared witch hunt, Lay says
24th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Lay 'devastated' by Enron failure
18th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Skilling defends Enron share sale
13th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Skilling slams Enron prosecutors
12th Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron 'held no cookie jar fund'
11th Apr 2006 Questionable Practice Enron Skilling denies cover-up at Enron
3rd Apr 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Key Enron witness 'lied in court'
22nd Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron treasurer tells of 'lies'
16th Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron whistleblower condemns Lay
14th Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Key Enron witness 'duped bosses'
9th Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Lay 'lied about Enron finances'
7th Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron bosses hid massive losses
1st Mar 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron 'pretty fast and loose with its rules'
27th Feb 2006 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron money man 'raided reserves'
13th May 2005 Fraud Investigation Enron Former Enron executive sentenced
9th Jan 2005 Fraud Investigation Enron Enron bosses agree $168m payout
3rd Nov 2004 Fraud Investigation Enron Convictions in Enron fraud trial
28th Jun 2004 Other Issue Enron Enron ex-boss breaks his silence

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