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Former Enron CEO released from prison into halfway house

Austin, Texas

JEFFREY Skilling, the former chief executive officer of Enron who received a 24-year prison sentence for his role in the company's spectacular collapse, has been released from an Alabama prison camp.

He has since moved to a halfway house, records from the US Bureau of Prisons showed on Thursday. The records list him as being at a residential re-entry facility in Houston.

In May 2006, a jury convicted him of 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in maintaining a facade of success as Enron's energy business crumbled.

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In 2013, US District Judge Simeon Lake reduced his 24-year jail term to 14 years, accepting a deal struck between prosecutors and his lawyers to end years of appeals. Under the deal, more than US$40 million of his fortune, which had been frozen since his conviction in 2006, was to be distributed to victims of Enron's collapse.

Houston-based Enron's 2001 collapse threw thousands out of work, sparked federal probes and prompted the US Congress to crack down on corporate accounting abuses.

Enron founder Kenneth Lay was also found guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy and fraud. He died of heart failure six weeks after the trial ended, prompting a federal judge to throw out the conviction.

Mr Skilling had been serving his time in a minimum security "prison camp" in Montgomery, Alabama. He was set for release in 2019. REUTERS