Enron Big Fish Will Skip Court Date

Andrew Fastow, the former chief financial officer accused of fueling Enron Corp.'s downfall, will be arraigned Monday regarding new charges released against him earlier this month.

Fastow, 41, was indicted in October on 78 counts of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. On Monday he was to be arraigned on new charges of insider trading, filing false tax forms and conspiracy to falsify books and records in an expanded indictment unveiled May 1.

Fastow, who pleaded not guilty to the first round of charges last year, was allowed to postpone his arraignment on the new charges because a status hearing in his case already had been slated for Monday, according to prosecutors.

He won't appear in court under a new federal rule allowing defendants to waive appearances when new charges are added to existing indictments. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt agreed to let his lawyers appear for him.

Fastow remains the highest-level executive to face criminal charges in a Justice Department investigation into Enron's 2001 collapse. He is free on $5 million bond.

His former top lieutenant, Michael Kopper, pleaded guilty in August 2002 to running and helping create schemes that funneled kickbacks to Fastow and his wife, Lea, and others while undercutting Enron's purported financial health.

The expanded indictment added two defendants in Fastow's case.

Ben Glisan Jr., Enron's former treasurer earned $1 million on a $5,800 investment in one of Fastow's partnerships, and Dan Boyle, a former Enron finance executive who was allegedly involved in a 1999 sham deal to sell Nigerian barges so the company could appear to reach earnings targets. Both pleaded not guilty.

A separate indictment also unsealed May 1 charged Lea Fastow with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and filing false tax returns. She also pleaded not guilty. Her attorneys contend she was charged to put legal pressure on her husband.

By Kristen Hays