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11/9/2003

Lay agrees to surrender his Enron documents

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — After resisting for more than a year, former Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay agreed Friday to surrender personal and corporate records that could be used for criminal and civil investigations in the pursuit of charges against him and others.
The development in the case involving Enron, the company whose bankruptcy led a wave of big corporate scandals that shook investors’ confidence, came in an agreement between Lay and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was approved by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth.
Under the accord, the SEC can use leads derived from the documents for any law enforcement purpose, including possible civil action.
Both agencies have been investigating massive alleged accounting fraud at the Texas-based energy company. Enron’s bankruptcy in December 2001, the second-largest in U.S. history, cost thousands of jobs and wiped out hundreds of millions of dollars in retirement savings.
Lay had contended that turning over the documents would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The records, which he must provide by early next week, include copies of Enron memoranda, papers that contain his handwriting and copies of letters, position papers and drafts of speeches.