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Tuesday February 5, 02:52 AM
Lay's whereabouts a mystery
By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A congressional committee trying to serve a subpoena on former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay has said his personal attorney does not know where Lay is and could not accept the subpoena.
"We made contact with Mr. Lay's attorney this afternoon ... He tells us he does not know of Lay's whereabouts, which we find quite puzzling to say the least," said Peggy Peterson, spokeswoman for the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
Earl Silbert, Lay's attorney, was unavailable for comment. A woman answering the phone at his home said he was ill.
Lay resigned from the board of the fallen energy trading giant on Monday as two congressional committees vowed to force him to come before them to testify on Enron's collapse.
He had been scheduled to appear before a House Financial Services subcommittee to talk about Enron's downfall, but he backed out over the weekend.
The House committee had hoped to subpoena him on Monday to compel him to appear on Tuesday, Peterson said.
But upon contacting Silbert, she said, "He told us he doesn't know where he (Lay) is and so could not accept the subpoena ... This is a bizarre situation."
She said, "We're going to keep talking to the attorney."
Lay had also been scheduled to appear before a Senate committee on Monday, but cancelled that date, as well.
Lay resigned as chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Enron on January 23. On Monday, he issued a statement saying he was also stepping down from the board.
"I want to see Enron survive and successfully emerge from reorganisation," he said in the statement. "Due to the multiple inquiries and investigations, some of which are focused on me personally, I believe that my involvement has become a distraction to achieving this goal."
His testimony to Senate and House panels had been expected to be a highlight of four days of hearings into the crumbling of the one-time Wall Street darling, the largest company to file for bankruptcy in U.S. history. But Lay cancelled, with his lawyer citing a "prosecutorial" atmosphere.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, said the committee would meet on Tuesday to issue a subpoena to make Lay testify on February 12.
However, even if he appears, Lay can invoke his right not to testify against himself, committee members said.
With a criminal inquiry into Enron's demise under way at the Justice Department and fresh revelations emerging daily of wildly irregular practices at the company, an increasing number of witnesses were refusing to testify before Congress.
Ousted Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and former Enron executive Michael Kopper were expected to appear before a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on Thursday, but to invoke their right not to testify against themselves.
-- Conservative coward criminal cuts loose to Costa Rica (Take @ the money. en ron), February 05, 2002
Yep, they were awfully naive to trust a rat like him. Should have charged him with fraud and taken him into custody with no bail.
-- (livin it up @ in. margaritaville), February 05, 2002.
Shades of Ivan Krueger! We haven't seen the last of Kenny Boy, on that you can rely.
-- Little Nipper (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 05, 2002.
One of Kenny-boy's doubles (he has 25 doubles) was in full view last night on the David Letterman TV show. He sat-in with Paul's band. He didn't play, he just sat.
-- (email@example.com), February 06, 2002.