Enron finance chief handed six years


The former finance director at disgraced energy giant Enron was today given a six-year jail sentence in a US court.

Once accused of masterminding the mass-corporate fraud at the Houston-based company, Andrew Fastow emerged as a key prosecution witness in the cases brought against its chief executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

The former died in July but Skilling will be sentenced next month. Both men denied any wrongdoing.

Fastow, in contrast, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in 2004, admitting to engineering loss-making deals to hide the company's massive debts of more than $30 billion (£16 billion) from investors.

He said this was done partly so that he could plunder funds from the sinking ship, with Fastow forfeiting about $24 million (£12.6 million) worth of misappropriated funds since 2001's collapse.

When passing sentence on the 44-year-old, district judge Ken Hoyt said he had considered his cooperation with the authorities, desire to help victims recover money and visible remorse.

As part of Fastow's plea agreement signed in 2004, a maximum sentence of ten years was agreed upon.

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