Washington (dpa) - A U.S. judge on Friday decreased by 10 years the
sentence of disgraced former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling
as part of a deal with the Justice Department that will see him pay
$42 million to victims of the energy company's collapse.
He was resentenced to 14 years on conspiracy, securities fraud and other charges, down from a previous 24-year sentence handed down in 2006. He could be freed as soon as 2017, with his lawyers hoping he could be released on good behaviour.
An appeals court later vacated his sentence but upheld his conviction, and Skilling's lawyers had sought a retrial, reaching all the way to the US Supreme Court, which returned the case to a lower court.
The Justice Department agreed to the reduced sentence in part to bring an end to continued litigation and allow financial reimbursement to victims.
Skilling was convicted on a series of fraud charges in 2006 along with Enron founder Kenneth Lay in a scheme that made the company appear in better financial shape than it was, artificially inflating its stock price before the company collapsed into bankruptcy.
The two former executives helped cause a bankruptcy in 2001 that cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to shareholders and pensioners. Lay died of a heart attack after the trial and before his sentencing hearing.
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