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Kate Snow: Skilling faces tough questions

CNN's Kate Snow  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former and current Enron executives face a new barrage of questions from Congress this week. CNN's congressional correspondent Kate Snow described the questioning that took place Tuesday.

SNOW: It's been very interesting here on Capitol Hill. An interesting moment, in fact, just about 10 minutes ago, when Jeffrey Skilling said to the panel of senators, "Can I go back and react to something that Sherron Watkins just said?" And if you really looked, you could see Sherron Watkins sort of smile at that and said, "I know you are going to contradict everything I just said."

The two of them have been sparring back and forth at odds here, if you will. For about the last three hours, Mr. Skilling has been defending himself in front of this committee, aggressively batting down questions to the point of even correcting some senators when he thought they were in error. At one point he said, in retrospect, quote, "I wish I never heard of LJM." That is one of those outside partnerships that Enron had formed.

Mr. Skilling saying maybe it would have been better if they never had those outside partnerships, but he insisted that he did not really know much about those partnerships. Yes, he knew about them, but didn't know exactly how they were operating. He didn't know that they were risky, and that led to testy exchanges.

There is an exchange with Barbara Boxer of California indicative of what the tone has been like here. Mr. Skilling was also asked about, why he left the company last August. He insisted, again, that it was for personal reasons, and he didn't really elaborate.

He did say that he had spent a lot of time working, his car was the first there in the morning and the last one to leave at night, and he said he had neglected some of his personal responsibilities.

Pressed on whether he was worried about the company's future and about the stock price, Mr. Skilling did finally admit, at one point -- quote -- that he was "frustrated" about the stock price, but he indicated that wasn't the only reason that he left the company.




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