Enron Wife's Trial To Proceed In Houston

A US judge has now denied a motion to change the venue of Lea Fastow's trial from Houston. The wife of Enron's former chief financial officer had claimed that she would not get a fair trial in the company's own backyard because of all the negative publicity.

Mrs Fastow, 41, has been charged with money laundering, conspiracy to committ wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. She will go to trial in Houston on 10th February. Potential jurors will, however, be expected to fill out comprehensive questionnaires in an attempt to weed out those likely to display bias. They will also face possible questions, alone and collectively, from the judge and the lawyers involved.

In a related story, The Wall Street Journal reports that Enron is suing up to 100 firms for the recovery of around $1bn in respect of commercial paper payments demanded by companies in October and November 2001. The firms, which include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lehman and Merrill Lynch, became worried about Enron's financial position and are said to have pushed hard for the return of the money. Enron is now arguing that the return of the funds gave the firms an unfair preference at the expense of other creditors.

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