A lawyer for Ken Lay reasserted his client’s innocence yesterday in response to media reports at the weekend that prosecutors were near to bringing an indictment against the former Enron chairman.
Michael Ramsey said there would be no indictment as Mr Lay had “committed no crime”. He said Mr Lay had requested a meeting with the government and it was expected to take place in the next few days in Washington.
He said Mr Lay had met several times with prosecutors already, most recently a month ago. “Any questions they have, we have an answer for. We want to have as much interplay with the government as possible.”
Prosecutors have been working their way up Enron’s former executive structure as they attempt to punish those responsible for a fraud now synonymous with corporate wrongdoing.
Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive, was charged in February with directing a scheme to manipulate earnings and with gaining millions of dollars from illegal insider stock sales. Mr Skilling pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors’ efforts were boosted earlier by a guilty plea from Andrew Fastow, the former chief financial officer. Mr Fastow has been co-operating with the US government and his evidence is seen as pivotal to any cases brought higher up the chain.
But prosecutors investigating Mr Lay have not brought an indictment.
Mr Ramsey said: “Ken’s open style of management encouraged employees to voice their concerns . . . He worked hard to address concerns, and believed in the company to the very end.”