I see Jeff Skilling of Enron has been sentenced to 24 years in jail for his part in the fraud that bankrupted the company. It’s always interesting to see how real democracies enforce their laws.
Skilling was refused bail, was fitted with an electronic tag and will go to jail in about 90 days – for what is, effectively, a life sentence. Former employees were allowed to address the court (and Skilling) about the impact of his crimes. Here’s how one such employee expressed herself.
“Mr. Skilling has proven to be a liar, a thief and a drunk, flaunting an attitude above the law. He has betrayed everyone who has trusted him. Shame on me for believing the management of Enron,”
Ken Lay was also due for sentencing with Skilling but he died in the meantime and his case was dropped. It can be seen from the Enron trials that the Americans know what white collar crime is and how to deal with the disease.
In Ireland, it is likely that Skilling would have been awarded entrepreneur of the year and poor old ‘Kenny boy’ would probably have been granted a state funeral with a tearful oration by our Prime Minister.
Indeed, I think Ireland is missing out on a golden opportunity here. The country is obviously a justice free zone for thieving bankers, solicitors, politicians and all kinds of other dodgy ‘white collar’ characters (The law is, of course, fully enforced on wayward peasants).
The Government should officially declare the country a refuge for the world’s white collar criminals. They would, of course, have to comply with the old Irish tradition of ‘donating’ a percentage of their ill gotten gains to ‘certain parties’.
In return, they would be guanteed immunity and in the unlikely event of actually getting caught doing something dodgy, they would simply be referred to one of the never ending tribunals.
There they could happily live out the rest of their lives relating fantasy tales to entertain all those wayward peasants who actually do time for their crimes.