Former Enron executive pleads guilty
to money laundering, wire fraud
HOUSTON — A former Enron Corp. executive acknowledged Wednesday that he raked in millions of dollars in a corporate shell game that also involved his high-ranking boss at the energy giant.
Michael Kopper’s admission came as he pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making him the first Enron executive to admit to crimes in the aftermath of the company’s implosion last year.
Kopper, 37, who was managing director of Enron Global Finance under former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, told the judge he ran or helped create several partnerships that earned him and others millions of dollars while hiding debt and inflating profits at Enron.
“We think this is a substantial breakthrough in our investigation,” said Leslie Caldwell, head of a nationwide task force of federal prosecutors probing the company’s collapse. “His knowledge will become our knowledge.”
Liquid Audio sues dissident shareholders
over efforts to block merger
REDWOOD CITY — Liquid Audio Inc. filed suit Wednesday against two large shareholders for allegedly violating federal securities laws in their efforts to block the online music company’s planned merger with media distributor Alliance Entertainment Corp.
Under the proposed merger announced in June, Coral Springs, Fla.-based Alliance would get 46.2 million new shares of Liquid Audio and own 67 percent of the new public company. Existing shareholders would own the remaining 33 percent.
One dissident shareholder, MM Companies Inc., is attempting to take control of Liquid Audio’s board of directors. According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, MM failed to register as an investment company and is violating federal securities laws.
Liquid Audio also claimed Steel Partners II LP failed to make proper filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission before distributing statements the company calls false and misleading.