Tags: Lawyer: | Enron's | Lay | Will | Accept | Subpoenas

Lawyer: Enron's Lay Will Accept Subpoenas

Tuesday, 05 February 2002 12:00 AM

Enron Corp, the world's largest energy trading company, filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2. It was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, putting thousands of employees out of work and wiping out their retirement savings along with those of many outside investors. Enron's collapse came amid questions about the company's accounting methods, and about the role of accountant Arthur Andersen LLP.

Lay and other Enron officials were scheduled to appear at Capitol Hill hearings. At least 11 congressional committees are holding investigative hearings into the massive business collapse.

Contacted by the House Financial Services Committee late Monday, Lay attorney Earl Silbert was reported by committee officials to have refused to accept any subpoenas for his client, who was expected to testify at several hearings this week. Lay had pulled out Sunday, based on what his lawyer called the "prosecutorial" tone of the committees.

House Financial Services Chairman Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, signed a subpoena for Lay on Monday after a unanimous vote by the committee. On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce and Science Committee also unanimously voted to subpoena Lay.

Both committees want Lay to appear even though congressmen said they expected the former Enron head to invoke the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and not testify, thereby protecting himself against self-incrimination.

Lay, 59, resigned from Enron's board of directors Monday after his last-minute decision not to testify. He resigned Jan. 23 as chairman and chief executive officer after his company filed for bankruptcy.

Lay's testimony had been eagerly awaited in Washington, where the demise of the Houston corporation had raised questions about whether management acted illegally or improperly in its business ventures and in attempting to

"It's theoretically possible that a CEO wouldn't know about these activities but in that case we'd have to conclude Lay was the most out-to-lunch CEO in the nation," said Peter Fitzgerald, D-Ill., ranking member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, during Tuesday's brief consideration before the subpoena vote.

In a letter to the committee, Lay's lawyer, Earl Silbert, said his client could "not be expected to participate in a proceeding in which conclusions have been reached before Mr. Lay has been given an opportunity to be heard."

"If you juxtapose what happened to the people at the bottom and the people at the top it makes you sick," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. "Issuing a subpoena is appropriate with this apparent culture of corporate corruption."

There was discussion about wanting to keep politics out of the investigation, but committee chairman,

Enron was a large donor to political campaigns, notably the Bush presidential run in 2000, and some have suggested that the company was trying to buy influence with the donations. So far there is no evidence Enron bought influence with Bush, but there is evidence it

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Enron Corp, the world's largest energy trading company, filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2. It was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, putting thousands of employees out of work and wiping out their retirement savings along with those of many outside investors. Enron's...
Lawyer:,Enron's,Lay,Will,Accept,Subpoenas
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2002-00-05
Tuesday, 05 February 2002 12:00 AM
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