Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 6 News List

UK Enron witness found dead

SILENCED Neil Coulbeck provided evidence in an Enron-linked case against three British bankers who were extradited yesterday to face fraud charges in the US

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , LONDON

A British banker who provided evidence to the FBI and the US Department of Justice about Enron-related transactions has been found dead in an East London park, days ahead of the politically charged extradition of his former colleagues to Houston to stand trial.

The banker, who was identified by his former employer, Royal Bank of Scotland, as Neil Coulbeck, was found on Tuesday by a passer-by in the park, which is in the Chingford neighborhood of London.

Scotland Yard confirmed on Wednesday that a body had been found. It said the death was being treated as "unexplained" and that officers from its homicide and serious crime units were investigating. The man appeared to have committed suicide, the British Press Association said. Scotland Yard would not confirm that report.

US marshals yesterday took into custody three British bankers who worked for NatWest Bank. The three were indicted on fraud charges in the US District Court in Houston in 2002 in connection with transactions tied to Enron, the energy company that collapsed in 2001.

Prosecutors say the three were involved with the sale of NatWest's stake in an Enron asset that gave NatWest less profit than it should have had while personally benefiting the bankers and some Enron executives.

The three deny any criminal conduct, and the bank has not pressed charges against them.

Coulbeck, 53, provided evidence in the case against the bankers, said two people who worked on the prosecution's case on condition of anonymity. Coulbeck had nothing to do with the approval or execution of the transactions in question, these people said, and Coulbeck was not questioned repeatedly.

From 2000 to 2001, Coulbeck was head of North American financial markets for NatWest's corporate bank. Royal Bank of Scotland bought NatWest in 2000. Coulbeck took an early retirement from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2004, the bank said. His last job there was head treasurer.

"There is no evidence that Neil was involved in the approval of the transaction under investigation," the bank said.

The bank said Coulbeck was "a respected, capable and hard-working member of our senior management team."

This story has been viewed 2772 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top