Skilling Denies Accusations During Cross Examination

The cross examination of former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling continues in a Houston federal court. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 4/19/06 during KUHF's Morning Business Report.

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Prosecutor Sean Berkowitz methodically walked through Enron's performance statistics and other documents in rapid-fire succession. Skilling consistently denied government accusations that partnerships were used to hide losses from Wall Street. He said the government is unfairly misrepresenting Enron transactions by not looking at the larger picture.

Berkowitz pressed Skilling about whether executives were pressured to hit earnings targets. Skilling said all businesses have the desire to reach targets. The government produced various presentations that were made to Skilling in the Board of Directors that suggest intense earnings pressure led to creative accounting risks.

Skilling denied knowing about transactions the government said were used to artificially boost earnings, saying he knew of no secret deal with former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow to buy back a Brazilian power project from Fastow's investment group. He also said he knew of no similar deal with Merrill Lynch to buy back a share of Nigerian electricity barges. Prosecutors said the sale was designed to make Enron's profits appear stronger in the fourth-quarter of 1999.

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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