Sources say Jeff Skilling, Enron’s former chief executive officer and chief operating officer, was indicted by the Enron grand jury today and is expected to surrender to the FBI in Houston early Thursday.
Sources told the Chronicle that a sealed indictment named 50-year-old Skilling, who now becomes the top Enron executive to be accused of a crime in the trading giant’s stunning downfall.
Skilling has consistently denied any wrongdoing and testified before Congress in 2002 rather than invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, as other executives did.
The specially formed Enron grand jury that most recently has been looking at Skilling is nearly 2 years old and has been working more frequently as this investigation intensifies.
The foreman of the grand jury told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy at about 4 p.m. today that he had one sealed indictment from the panel, which met part of Tuesday and most of Wednesday.
Enron Task Force prosecutors Sam Buell, Kathryn Ruemmler and Sean Berkowitz asked that the indictment be sealed and the courtroom be cleared of spectators.
The charges against Skilling by Enron Task Force prosecutors follow the Jan. 21 indictment of ex-Enron Chief Accounting Officer Rick Causey and the Jan. 15 guilty pleas of former company Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and his wife.
Attorneys involved in the Enron criminal cases expect that Fastow, who agreed to serve 10 years in prison for two counts of conspiracy, gave prosecutors information that will add to the case against Skilling.