An openly gay former top executive in Enron Corp.'s finance division pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering and wire fraud. He is the first to admit guilt in the aftermath of the former energy behemoth's implosion last year.
Michael Kopper, 37, was managing director of Enron Global Finance under former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. Kopper quit the company months before its collapse. He had run an illegal Enron subsidiary, Chewco, and later turned it over to his domestic partner, William D. Dodson, to avoid the scrutiny of federal regulators. Chewco was one of several partnerships created by Fastow that have been credited with leading to the company's failure.
As part of his agreement to cooperate with the government, Kopper agreed to surrender $12 million in illegally obtained assets. Kopper alleged that his activities were conducted under the direction of Fastow and in some cases in concert with Fastow. He said that in at least two of the transactions, he had kicked back money to Fastow.
U.S. district court judge Ewing Werlein Jr. set bond for Kopper at $5 million.