HOUSTON -- Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron Corp. chief executive who resigned less than four months before the company imploded in scandal, was expected to surrender today on charges related to the company's collapse, sources told the Associated Press yesterday.
The criminal charges come almost exactly two years after Skilling told Congress he knew nothing about serious problems at the energy trader.
Two sources close to the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said yesterday that Skilling was expected to surrender to the FBI early today and then appear before a federal judge on charges related to Enron's collapse.
It was not immediately clear what charges Skilling would face, although the sources said they would likely be conspiracy and fraud. Barring any last minute delays, Skilling, 50, would be the highest-profile former Enron executive to date to face criminal charges. One of his lawyers, Bruce Hiler, went to the federal courthouse in Houston yesterday to familiarize himself with its layout.
Skilling's former boss, Enron founder and former chairman Kenneth Lay, has not been charged, and the sources said it was unclear when or if he would become a defendant.
Both men, through their lawyers, have staunchly maintained their innocence of any wrongdoing since Enron collapsed and went bankrupt in December 2001.
Two years ago, Skilling insisted during testimony before two congressional panels that he believed Enron was financially healthy when he abruptly quit after only six months as chief executive, citing personal reasons. Other former executives invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and declined to testify before Congress.
Skilling would be the 28th individual to be charged and one of the most anticipated in the Justice Department's methodical investigation, which passed its two-year mark last month. It also would come just a month after former Enron finance chief Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to help prosecutors pursue other cases.
In his guilty plea, Fastow admitted he and others manipulated Enron's books so the company would appear successful while using various partnerships to enrich himself, his family and chosen colleagues.