The former chief executive of Enron will start his 24-year jail sentence for financial fraud within the next three months. Jeffrey Skilling has received the harshest penalty yet in the case that came to symbolise corporate fraud in the US. The 52-year-old father-of-three said he was “disappointed” and will appeal: “I believe I’m innocent and so I believe in the long run in the system, I think when we review this in a somewhat calmer atmosphere than has existed over the last five years I think people will look at that and I hope it will work out fine.”
Judge Sim Lake said Skilling’s crimes resulted in lifetimes of poverty for probably thousands of people. He and Enron founder Kenneth Lay were found guilty of defrauding investors by using secret deals to hide debt and inflate profits. Once America’s seventh largest company, Enron collapsed into bankruptcy in December 2001.