A former accountant with Enron and a former executive with Merrill Lynch pleaded not guilty Wednesday to conspiracy charges in connection with a deal prosecutors say helped Enron inflate 1999 earnings with a loan disguised as a sale of Nigerian barges.
Sheila K. Kahanek, the accountant, and William R. Fuhs, a former vice president for Merrill Lynch, were added as defendants to last month’s indictment of three former Merrill Lynch executives over the barge dealings. Both were freed on $100,000 bond, according to court records.
In addition, Dan Boyle, a former Enron finance executive indicted in April on similar charges related to the barge deal, was added to the Merrill Lynch executives’ case. Originally he was added in April as a defendant to an indictment charging the former Enron finance chief, Andrew Fastow, with nearly 100 counts including insider trading, fraud, money laundering and conspiracy for a wider scope of suspected wrongdoing including the barge deal. Both he and Mr. Boyle have pleaded not guilty as well.
Lawyers for Ms. Kahanek and Mr. Fuhs did not immediately return calls for comment.
Prosecutors assert Enron, with Merrill’s knowledge, booked a short-term $7 million investment from the brokerage firm as a $12 million profit from the sale of Nigerian barges in December 1999.
Enron’s previous efforts to find a buyer had failed and the energy company needed the sale to appear to have met earnings goals.