Skilling reasserts innocence at Enron hearing

Skilling yesterday told the hearing: ‘I never duped [former Enron chairman] Ken Lay,’ deliberately repeating the word ex-vice president Sherron Watkins used in delivering previous accusations against him and former auditors Andersen.

During the five-hour hearing in front of the Senate Commerce Committee, Skilling maintained his innocence, despite a vicious assault from Watkins.

Watkins said she was in ‘no doubt’ Skilling was aware of financial problems resulting from the use of special partnerships – the special purpose vehicles used to raise debt at the company, and the primary cause for the energy giant’s downfall.

She also attacked former chairman Kenneth Lay, accusing him of missing an opportunity to ‘salvage’ the company when she warned him of problems last year.

Skilling resigned last August, but not before he cashed in $66m of company stock, at more or less the same time Watkins claims to have warned Lay of potentially serious accounting problems.

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