Lay, Skilling Found Guilty

Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy May 25. Both face lengthy prison sentences.

The following is a timeline of key dates in the Enron collapse scandal:

2001
October 16: Enron Corp., one of the largest U.S. corporations, announces a $618 million quarterly loss, citing exceptional charges of $1 billion.

October 22: The federal Securities and Exchange Commission opens an inquiry into Enron operations directed by chief financial officer Andrew Fastow.

October 25: Enron fires Fastow after the company is forced to write down its equity value by $1.2 billion.

November 28: Enron's credit rating sinks to junk status. Shares tumble to 65 cents, a 98% drop from October 16.

December 2: Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, marking the biggest corporate failure in U.S. history at the time.

2002
January 10: The Justice Department opens a criminal probe. Accounting firm Arthur Andersen admits destroying Enron documents.

January 23: Kenneth Lay resigns as chief executive.

January 25: Former company vice president Cliff Baxter, who resigned in May 2001 after criticizing company practices, is found dead in his car, an apparent suicide.

February 7: Fastow and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling refuse to answer questions from a congressional committee investigating the collapse.

February 12: Lay refuses to testify before a Senate panel.

March 14: Accounting firm Arthur Andersen is indicted on criminal charges for destroying Enron documents and e-mails.

June 15: Andersen, once one of the Big Five accounting firm, is convicted of obstructing justice and collapses.

July 30: President George W. Bush signs into law sweeping corporate reform legislation, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, vowing a crackdown on executives who defraud investors.

August 21: Michael Kopper, former managing director of Enron Global Finance, pleads guilty to conspiracy charges, giving prosecutors their first break in the case.

August 28: A bankruptcy court approves a deal giving thousands of Enron employees who lost their jobs up to $13,500 each in severance pay.

October 2: Fastow is charged with fraud and money laundering.

September 10: Former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan is sentenced to five years prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges, the first executive at the firm to go to prison.

2004
January 14, 2004: Fastow pleads guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in a deal giving him 10 years in prison. His wife enters a separate plea agreement and is sentenced to one year in jail.

February 19: Skilling is indicted on 36 counts of fraud and insider trading.

July 7: Lay indicted in connection with the massive fraud that led to Enron's collapse.

May 31, 2005: The Supreme Court overturns Arthur Andersen's criminal conviction due to flawed jury instructions.

2006
January 30: Lay and Skilling go on trial in Houston, Texas.

May 25: Skilling and Lay found guilty on fraud and conspiracy charges. Both Skilling, 52, and Lay, 64, face lengthy prison sentences.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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