Andrew Fastow, Who Helped Bring Down Enron, Saw Himself as ‘Hero’
(Bloomberg) -- Andrew Fastow, who was at the center of the fraud which brought down Enron Corp., said he now accepts full responsibility for his actions after originally viewing himself as a “hero” while chief financial officer at the energy trading giant.
Enron used off-books partnerships Fastow created to hide billions of dollars in losses and debt, distorting the company’s performance and inflating its share price. When the partnerships were revealed, Enron’s stock nosedived, plunging the company into insolvency in weeks.
“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Fastow told a packed audience at the Pendulum summit, which describes itself as a “Business and Self-Empowerment” event, in Dublin. “I thought I was being a hero.”
Fastow pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in 2004. Fastow testified extensively against Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling at trial and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Today, Fastow says he accepts his actions were wrong. More than 5,000 jobs and $1 billion in employee retirement funds were wiped out overnight when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001.
“I believe what I did was unethical and illegal,” he said. “I take full responsibility for my actions and consider myself probably the person most responsible for Enron’s failure.”
Fastow, speaking on business ethics, quipped that his time in Dublin was bringing back memories.
“I haven’t been in front of this many lights and cameras since the day I was indicted,” he said.
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