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Monday, 26 November 2007

NatWest 3 to change their plea to slightly guilty?

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has scheduled a hearing next week to take new pleas from three former British bankers accused of fraud in an Enron-related case, court records showed on Saturday.
David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew, known as the "NatWest Three," are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein at 4 p.m. CST (2200 GMT) Wednesday for a proceeding called re-arraignment.
The three were indicted in 2002 and pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired with rogue Enron Corp executives in 2000 to defraud National Westminster Bank (NWB_pa.L)of $19 million, dividing $7 million among themselves.
Free on bond since being extradited to Texas in 2006, they are scheduled for trial January 7, 2008.
Lawyers involved either declined comment or could not be reached to explain the new development, but re-arraignment sometimes means a plea bargain has been made for lesser charges or an agreed sentence, ending a criminal case.
Enron, a Houston-based energy giant, collapsed in a tangle of accounting fraud in 2001, costing employees and retirees their pensions and losing investors billions of dollars. Top executives were prosecuted and sent to prison.
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols)

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