Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Second Enron figure dead

Even as Houstonians prepare for today's memorial service for Ken Lay, British media reports the death of another man implicated in the scandal that won't leave the headlines (emphasis mine):

The body of a man believed to be linked to a US probe into a financial scandal involving NatWest has been found close to his home.

Neil Coulbeck had gone missing from his home in Woodford Green, east London, on Thursday.

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "The man had been interviewed by the FBI. We don't know how important to the investigtion he was but FBI sources suggest he was a pivotal character in the case."

Mr Coulbeck's body was discovered in Waltham Forest, east London. He was Head of Group Treasury at the Royal Bank of Scotland and is thought to have been a possible witness in the NatWest Three case.

The discovery comes as MPs debate the controversial decision to extradite three British bankers - dubbed the NatWest Three - to the US to face charges over the scandal.

The men, who previously worked for NatWest, are accused of taking part in a multi-million pound fraud connected to the collapse of Enron.

All three - David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby - have denied any wrongdoing. They could spend up to two years in a high-security US prison awaiting trial unless they are granted bail.

The move to send them to Houston, Texas, is at the centre of a row over Britain's extradition agreement with the United States.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Perhaps Coulbeck was embarrassed over the shame brought to him by his fiduciary misdeeds and took his own life, as did J. Clifford Baxter and Charles Rice of the El Paso Corporation and James Watkins of Arthur Andersen.

There are, of course, many corporate executives who bear the tremendous weight of their crimes on their conscience.

When they get caught.

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