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In US Deal, Enron CEO May Get Reduced Jail Term

Former Enron executive Jeff Skilling leaves courthouse following fraud, conspiracy conviction, Houston, May 25, 2006.
U.S. federal prosecutors and defense attorneys have reached a deal under which disgraced former Enron Corporation CEO Jeffrey Skilling could have 10 years trimmed from his 24-year prison term.

Skilling was convicted in 2006 on 19 charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud and insider trading, for his role in Enron's downfall. The Houston-based energy giant collapsed in 2001, after what prosecutors said were years of corrupt business deals and accounting gimmicks.

The new agreement, which is awaiting approval by a federal judge, provides for a prison term of 14 to 17 years and levies a $40-million penalty against the 59-year-old Skilling.

U.S. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the deal ends all legal appeals by Skilling and allows victims of the collapse to begin receiving financial restitution. Authorities say the ongoing case had so far prevented the government from distributing Skilling's seized assets to victims.

A federal appeals court has on two occasions upheld Skilling's convictions, while calling for a reduction in his sentence.

Skilling is the highest ranking executive to be punished in the massive corruption scandal. Company founder Kenneth Lay's similar convictions were vacated after he died of a heart attack in July 2006, just weeks after being found guilty on 10 corruption counts.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.