November 28, 2007
NatWest Three to Plead Guilty Today in Enron Case
Posted by Christine Hurt

I've blogged before about the bizarre case pending in the Southern District of Texas against the "NatWest Three" -- three UK bankers who were extradicted to Houston to face charges of "theft of honest services" from their employer, Greenwich National Westminster, in connection with transactions with Enron Corp.  Although this theory has been criticized by the Fifth Circuit in reviewing other Enron-related appeals, this prosecution has caused the three non-U.S. citizens to be held here for 16 months on bail under conditions that each must stay in Houston and that they may not live with or see each other.

Both the Houston Chronicle and the Guardian are reporting that the three bankers are expected to plead guilty today at a re-arraignment hearing, which suggests that each may plead guilty to a count or counts other than ones in the original indictment.  The original counts of wire fraud, etc. carried up to nine years in prison.  Although experts are predicting that the three will face some amount of jail time, we'll have to see what happens.

Tom Kirkendall also ponders whether the bankers are hedging against the U.S. "trial  penalty."  I'm hoping that instead, the prosecutors are hedging against their Fifth Circuit reversal risk!


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