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Enron fraud case: Brit bankers booked

Three British bankers who pleaded guilty for their roles in a fraudulent scheme, were sentenced on Saturday to 3 years.

world Updated: Feb 23, 2008 11:08 IST

Three British bankers who pleaded guilty for their roles in a fraudulent scheme with former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow were sentenced on Saturday to just over three years in prison.

A federal judge sentenced David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew each to 37 months.

In November, the three men each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud as part of a plea agreement after initially saying they were innocent of colluding with Fastow in a secret financial scam in 2000 to enrich themselves at their employer's expense.

Their sentences matched the recommendation of federal prosecutors. All three also have agreed to pay their former employer more than USD 13 million.

The three former executives at Greenwich NatWest, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, became a cause celebre in Britain throughout extradition proceedings that lasted two years. They were dubbed the "NatWest Three."

Their attorneys have said they will work with prosecutors to see if the bankers can serve part of their sentences in Britain.

In the United States, their case is a loose end from Enron's collapse.

Greenwich NatWest had invested in a subsidiary of an Enron partnership controlled by Fastow, the architect of a myriad of fraudulent Enron schemes that helped fuel its spiral into bankruptcy proceedings.

In early 2000, the bank had valued its interest in the subsidiary at zero, but the three British men knew it actually had significant value.