Houston (Aug. 21, 2002) -- The right-hand man to Enron's former chief financial officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering and wire fraud -- but fingered his boss as the ringleader.Michael Kopper, 37, was managing director of Enron Global Finance under former CFO Andrew Fastow. Kopper left Enron months before its failure to run one of several partnerships created by Fastow that have been credited with leading to the company's demise.

As part of his plea agreement, Kopper agreed to turn over $12 million in illegal profits and cooperate with the government's continuing Enron investigation. Kopper is the first Enron executive to be convicted.

During his plea, Kopper told the courts that Fastow directed his illegal activities and that in at least two transactions, he kicked back money to his boss.

In a statement following the plea, Kopper’s attorney David M. Howard said that his client accepts personal responsibility for his role in the Enron debacle.

" Michael has admitted that he misused his position at Enron to enrich himself and others, and in so doing violated his duties as an Enron employee. Michael also has agreed to pay millions of dollars to a restitution fund for victims of Enron, and he has promised to cooperate with the Department of Justice and the SEC in their continuing investigations. Michael hopes that these actions demonstrate his deep regret for his own conduct. He apologizes to all those whose lives have been affected by what he did. "

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