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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:

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.

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.

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.

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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