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|24th Apr 2006||Fraud Investigation||Lay 'devastated' by Enron failure|
|Enron's collapse caused more "enduring pain" than the death of a loved one, the energy giant's founder Kenneth Lay has told a US court.
Mr Lay made the claims as he began his defence against charges of fraud and conspiracy over Enron's collapse.
He also laid the blame for the energy firm's failure firmly at the feet of former finance chief Andrew Fastow.
Mr Lay is facing six charges of conspiracy, and wire and securities fraud. He denies the charges.
During his first day on the witness stand at the Houston court Mr Lay proclaimed his innocence saying he had been devastated by Enron's collapse.
"I'm sure there's absolutely nothing in my life, including the loss of life of many of my loved ones, that even comes close to the same level of pain, and the same enduring pain, that has caused," he said.
"I guess you could say in the last few years I've achieved the American nightmare," he added.
Prosecutors say Mr Lay knew the company faced huge problems with fraudulent accounting, overvalued assets and struggling business ventures in the months before the crash.
The 64-year-old headed Enron for 15 years from its inception until 2001, when he turned over the chief executive's job to Jeffrey Skilling.
After Mr Skilling resigned six months into his job, Mr Lay took over at the helm once more, and prosecutors allege he then took charge of a conspiracy to lie about the energy company's financial health.
But Mr Lay dubbed the claims "ludicrous", saying: "The last thing I would do is step back in as CEO and take over as the leader of a conspiracy."
Instead he repeated defence claims that Enron was brought down by a lack of market confidence in the firm triggered by revelations that chief financial officer Andrew Fastow had stolen millions from the company.
He added that Mr Fastow had done a "tremendously brilliant" job of hiding his crimes from the energy giant's executives.
Mr Fastow - one of the prosecution's star witnesses - has claimed that Mr Lay and Mr Skilling lied to the US stock market, company workers and the public about the state of Enron.
|Other Reports on Enron|
|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|
|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|
|10th Apr 2006||Fraud Investigation||Enron||I'm innocent says ex-Enron chief|
|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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