More high-profile executives are likely to be charged with corporate corruption in coming days, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission has told a British audience.
“I expect this week and in the following weeks we will see more high-profile indictments of people who abused their public trust,” Harvey Pitt told BBC radio in an interview yesterday.
“A number of high profile officials will find themselves in the spotlight for potential criminal sanctions like jail time,” Pitt said.
Pitt’s interview was broadcast as the SEC and the Manhattan district attorney filed charges of grand larceny and securities law violations against Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski and two top aides.
Kozlowski is the latest top corporate official to face charges, following the indictments of officials at Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia Communications, RiteAid and ImClone. A special task force of SEC and Justice Department investigators are also investigating Global Crossing, the onetime telecom giant and pressing their pursuit of former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Eppers and former Enron chief executives Andrew Fastow, Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay.
The current prosecution of corporate officials was also endorsed by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday who acknowledged his surprise at the growing number of criminal cases. “There were a large number of egregious acts . . . larger than I would like to have seen,” Greenspan said. “The problem essentially rested with the chief executive officer and those chief executive officers who [wanted] to spin the accounting system in order to give the impression of success where success did not exist.”