The former chief executive of Enron has proclaimed his innocence as he took the stand for the first time. Jeffrey Skilling’s facing 28 counts of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading following the collapse of the American energy firm in 2001. He and former CEO and company chairman Ken Lay are the two most senior figures to face allegations of lying to investors to hide the company’s dismal financial situation.Skilling said he would fight the criminal charges “until the day he died”. The 52-year-old told jurors at the US federal court in Houston that when he left the company in August 2001 it was “in very good condition,” and that he regretted having quit. The Enron collapse was one of America’s biggest ever corporate scandals, with the firm going down over 26 billion euros in debt.