Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling turned himself in today to FBI agents in response to a federal indictment. The Houston Chronicle says the Skilling, 50, now is the top executive to be accused of a crime in the trading giant’s downfall. “This is the Holy Grail the government has been pursuing for two years,” said Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey. “This is a vindication in the minds of the public that the dramatic downward spiral could not have occurred without the knowledge of those at the top.”
Skilling has denied wrongdoing. The only Enron official above Skilling was ex-board Chairman Ken Lay, who is under investigation. Typically, federal official have asked defendants to surrender at FBI offices. Agents bring them to the back of the courthouse in handcuffs, where the news media have a chance to photograph them entering the building.
Lawyers expect the charges to accuse Skilling of conspiring with other executives in schemes to manipulate earnings and fool investors about the condition of Enron. The new charges follow the Jan. 21 indictment of ex-Enron Chief Accounting Officer Rick Causey and the Jan. 15 guilty pleas of former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and his wife, Lea.