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Kenneth Lay: Another suspicious death?

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It has been noted that there's a more recent death in the Enron scandal, so I thought the following might be of interest. Forum members have previously discussed the veracity of "suicides" who shot themselves in the head more than once [Gary Webb, for example], but I cannot recall any discussion of those who choose to kill themselves by slitting their own throats. This, from the Times Online, at:


Dead executive 'not a suspect'

By Steve Bird

A FORMER banking executive who was due to give evidence at the trial of the NatWest Three killed himself by cutting his throat, police sources said.

Last night officers were searching a recycling centre in Chigwell, Essex, close to Neil Coulbeck’s home, to see if he had disposed of any documents linked to the Enron fraud investigation. Mr Coulbeck’s body was found on Tuesday in parkland. The 53-year-old former Royal Bank of Scotland executive was identified yesterday after a post-mortem examination. Police were still awaiting the result of toxicology tests.

Officers believe that Mr Coulbeck, a father of two, committed suicide. He went missing five days before his body was found. It is understood that he had made an earlier attempt on his life. Supporters of David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby have claimed that Mr Coulbeck was put under immense pressure when questioned by FBI investigators. But the FBI said that Mr Coulbeck had been considered a witness, not a suspect.

He was interviewed last month in his solicitor’s office as part of the Enron investigation.

A very different account appeared in today's Sun:



Crime Editor

SUICIDE banker Neil Coulbeck was filmed ditching files believed to be linked to the NatWest fraud trial.

CCTV footage from a tip at Woodford, East London, showed him dumping mystery sacks, cops said. Mr Coulbeck, 53, then vanished eight days ago and was found hanged on Tuesday.

Yesterday cops — alerted by a tip-off from a witness — scoured the refuse centre as fraud suspects, the NatWest Three, were extradited to the US.

A police source said: “We believe he may have dumped sacks of documents which could be related to his financial dealings.

“We are sifting the rubbish in the hope of finding the material.”

The body of the dad of two was found under a tree where he hanged himself in a park close to his Woodford Green home.

Mr Coulbeck was a key witness in the £11million fraud case and had been interviewed “aggressively” at length by agents from the FBI.

Yesterday ex-NatWest men Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew were flown to Houston, Texas, by US marshals.

They are accused of conspiring with bosses of failed American energy giant Enron to sell off one of their companies for less than it was worth in 2000.

The trio then left the bank and just months later bought a stake in the company they had sold, selling it on for a higher price and splitting up profits of £11million.

Mr Coulbeck is said to have signed off documents from the sale as NatWest’s chief operational officer in the US.

After the bank’s takeover by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2001, he was head of group treasury before he left three years later.

He was one of four people known to have been quizzed by the FBI investigating the alleged fraud.

Mr Coulbeck left a suicide note which was recovered by cops.

This is what yesterday's Observer had to say about the case:


It was the repellent smell that first alerted a dog walker in an Essex park last Tuesday morning. Powerful to the point of overpowering, it presaged death. Neil Coulbeck's body was discovered underneath a tree from which he had apparently hanged himself. The park, near Woodford Green, was a place the former NatWest banker knew well; the father of two would jog there regularly, according to neighbours.

Up until the autumn of 2001 it had been Coulbeck's job to focus on NatWest's American balance sheet. 'He was on the credit side,' says someone who knew him. 'It was his job to approve things. It was a very senior role.' Coulbeck had been reported missing by his wife, Susan, five days before his body was discovered. It is understood he left a suicide note and had made a previous attempt on his life.

Shortly before he apparently hanged himself, Coulbeck, who was 53 and retired from banking in 2004, was captured on CCTV dumping rubbish sacks at a tip in east London. There is speculation the bags contained documents relating to the Enron affair, which friends have suggested rested heavy on his mind although these claims have not been confirmed.

Given the language of this report, it would seem the police are leaking information about their investigation. Clearly, they have yet to release details of how he actually died. The information about the rubbish sacks is obviously an attempt to give the impression he committed suicide. It seems that it was pure speculation that the sacks contained Enron files.

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Peter Please elaborate on the following

Illegal, Immoral, Imperialist tampering, invasions, overthrows, assassinations by US since WW2 [very incomplete list]

1. China 1945 to 1960s: Was Mao Tse-tung just paranoid? 20

4. The Philippines 1940s and 1950s: America's oldest colony 38

5. Korea 1945-1953: Was it all that it appeared to be? 44

6. Albania 1949-1953: The proper English spy 54

7. Eastern Europe 1948-1956: Operation Splinter Factor 56

8. Germany 1950s: Everything from juvenile delinquency to terrorism 60

12. Syria 1956-1957: Purchasing a new government 84

13. The Middle East 1957-1958:

The Eisenhower Doctrine claims another backyard for America 88

14. Indonesia 1957-1958: War and pornography 98

15. Western Europe 1950s and 1960s: Fronts within fronts within fronts 103

16. British Guiana 1953-1964: The CIA's international labor mafia 107

17. Soviet Union late 1940s to 1960s: From spy planes to book publishing 113

18. Italy 1950s to 1970s: Supporting the Cardinal's orphans and techno-fascism

40. Australia 1973-1975: Another free election bites the dust 244

48. Libya 1981-1989: Ronald Reagan meets his match 280

51. Bulgaria 1990/Albania 1991:

Teaching Communists what democracy is all about 314

52. Iraq 1990-1991: Desert holocaust 320

53. Afghanistan 1979-1992: America's Jihad 338

56. Afghanistan


and read the other books suggested on the site and then we'll talk.

Peter – None of the cases I asked you about are mentioned on the site (OK, OK 1 or 2 are). Telling someone who questions an undocumented assertion you make on a forum to read a bunch of books is not a reasonable response. Can you argue you the point yourself? If so start a new thread, This is totally off topic. Anyone can cut and paste a list from a webpage or copy one from a book.

The site mentions the following.

Angola 1975-1980s

Brazil 1961-1964

Cambodia 1955-1973

Chile 1964-1973

Congo 1960-1964

Cuba 1959-1980s

Dominican Republic 1960-1966

East Timor 1975

El Salvador 1980-1994

Greece 1964-1974

Grenada 1979-1984

Guatemala 1953-1954

Guatemala 1962-1980s

Haiti 1986-1994

Indonesia 1957-1958

Indonesia 1965

Iran 1953

Laos 1957-1973

Nicaragua 1981-1990

Uruguay 1964-1970

Zaire 1975-1978

Angola 1975 to 1980s

Bulgaria 1990 / Albania 1991

Cuba 1959-1980s

Ecuador 1960-1963

Haiti 1986-1994

Indonesia 1957-1958

Iraq 1990-1991

Italy 1947-1948

Uruguay 1964-1970

I know the history of most of thee which is why I specificly didn't ask you about them

Edited by Len Colby
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Greg Palast

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Don't check the casket. I know he's back. When I saw those lights flickering out at La Guardia Airport yesterday and heard the eerie shrieks and moans in the dark, broiling subway tunnels, I just knew it: Ken Lay's alive! We can see his spirit in every flickering lightbulb from Kansas to Queens as we head into America's annual Blackout season.

It wasn't always so. For decades, America had nearly the best, most reliable electricity system on the planet and, though we grumbled, electricity bills were among the planet's lowest. It was all thanks to Franklin Roosevelt and the Public Utility Holding Company Act which allowed for tough regulation of the power monopolies. They were told what they could charge, the maximum profit they could take and -- what I think about when the lights dim -- exactly how much they had to invest to keep the juice flowing.

But then, in 1992, a Texas oil man, George H.W. Bush, ordered to evacuate the White House by two-thirds of the US electorate, gave his Houston crony, Ken Lay, a billion-dollar good-bye kiss: Bush's signature authorizing deregulation of electricity.

But Lay's operation didn't pick up the really big bucks until after December 21, 1994, when the Enron chief wrote to the incoming governor of Texas, George W. Bush, asking the Governor-elect to grant him a special wish for Christmas:

"The Public Utility Commission appointment is an extremely critical one. We believe Pat Wood is best qualified…. Linda joins me in wishing you and Laura and the whole family a joyous holiday. - Sincerely, Ken."

And Georgie-Boy granted Kenny-Boy's wish, appointing Wood and thereby giving Texans an electricity regulator who stumped for Ken Lay's right to earn unlimited profits without any obligation to keep the lights on. Thus, by 1995, electricity deregulation had a foothold in the Lone Star state that would spread nationwide like Dutch Elm Disease.

But, unsatisfied with excessive profits, Lay and his team went for unconscionable profits, flickering the lights in California in the winter of 2000. "Let poor Aunt Millie … use candles," said one of Lay's minions as he deliberately schemed to engineer black-outs. When the public reacted with anger, Bill Clinton, by a December 2000 executive order, ended Enron's right to trade power. Lay's response was, that month, through a lobbyist, to tell President-elect Bush to promote Lay's puppet regulator, Wood, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Kenny-Boy wished it, and again, Georgie-Boy granted it.

Lay's hand-picked federal regulator Wood then kept the game going until, on August 14, 2003, the entire northeast, from Ohio to New York, went dark. Wood had to take the blame and resigned. Bush replaced him with Joe Kelliher, a regulator nominated by -- no points for guessing -- Ken Lay.

In the old, pre-Ken days of regulation, my fellow economists used to complain about something called the Averch-Johnson Effect. The A-J Effect was the result of regulations which gave companies incentives to gold plate the electricity system, making it way TOO reliable. Too much cash was spent on keeping the lights on.

Well, gone are the days of the A-J effect. The gold-plating is gone -- but not the gold. Under regulation, power sellers were limited by law to a profit of about 9%, what the law called a just and reasonable return. Now, the profits can be -- and are -- unreasonable, unjust and just out of sight.

For example, one company, Entergy, owns a nuclear plant in New York called, Indian Point. They get to charge for nuclear power as if it were produced by oil -- that is, they charge New York City residents at a price effectively set by OPEC, prices boosted by the war in Iraq. Not surprisingly, Entergy today reported a record rake-in of profits from their nuclear business. No 9% limit for these good old boys. On top of that, the power company is relieved of all obligations to keep the lights on in New York City.

… And in New Orleans. The same company supplies all of the electricity in the City that Care Forgot. Under deregulation, they hadn't gold-plated the system; they hadn't even water-proofed it. Last year, when the levees burst and the city flooded, Entergy simply turned off the lights and declared their New Orleans subsidiary bankrupt. Leaving New Orleans in the dark was a profitable decision. The company reported a 23% leap in earnings for the third quarter of 2005, the period including Hurricane Katrina, a profit boost they attributed to "the weather." Hey, are these guys droll, or what?

This year, Entergy's profits have stayed up in the clouds, no doubt helped by the cash the company saved by not bothering to restore electricity to a large number of their customers in New Orleans --who remain in the dark even today.

By now, you've got to ask: after the profiteering from Katrina, after the California power scandal of 2000, after the Great Black-out of 2003, even after the hand-cuffing of Ken Lay, why are we still under a deregulation regime that Ken Lay seems to rule from the grave? Why is it that we're still at the mercy of power vampires?

The answer, in part, is that the bloodsucking is a bi-partisan feast. Entergy, the New Orleans nuclear company, is well defended in the US Senate by their former lawyer, Hillary Rodham, who now protects them under her new alias, Senator Clinton.

Ken Lay's gone, but the ghost of Ken Lay -- the marauding ghoul called deregulation -- stays to haunt us.

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Autopsy of Enron's Lay shows severe artery blockage

Wed Jul 19, 6:25 PM ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Enron's founder Kenneth Lay had severely clogged arteries when he died in Colorado earlier this month while awaiting sentencing for his role in the collapse of the energy company, according to an autopsy report made public on Wednesday.

The autopsy showed that three of Lay's arteries were 90 percent blocked.

The examination was performed by forensic pathologist Robert Kurtzman, who previously told reporters that Lay died of cardiovascular disease.

It also showed that Lay had two stints in his arteries -- small tubes used to prop open arteries. He had also previously suffered two heart attacks.

The report said that Lay had awoken at about 1 a.m. on July 5 at the rented vacation home in Old Snowmass, Colorado, and spoke to his wife, Linda, before going into the bathroom. He was found dead on the bathroom floor.

Lay was taken to a hospital in Aspen, where he was pronounced dead.

Lay, who was 64, was convicted along with former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling in May of fraud and conspiracy for lying to investors to hide the financial condition of the energy company. Enron collapsed in 2001.

Lay was facing decades prison. He was due to be sentenced in October.


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