NEW YORK -- Roy William Harris, former president and chief executive of Arochem Corp., pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he defrauded a five-bank consortium of $150 million.

The fraud and money-laundering case was assigned to Judge Charles S. Haight of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Concealment Alleged

Mr. Harris was indicted May 27 on 24 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in an alleged scheme to defraud the group led by Chase Manhattan Bank. He allegedly concealed the true financial condition of Arochem Corp. and Arochem International Inc. of Stamford, Conn.

Banque Bruxelles Lambert of Belgium, Swiss Bank Corp., Banque Indosuez of France, and Skopbank of Finland were also in the consortium.

Mr. Harris was the first U.S. defendant charged under the 1990 "financial kingpin" statute enacted in the wake of the savings and loan scandals. If convicted, he faces 10 years to life in prison.

He would not comment on his case, but his lawyer, Larry Iason, said Mr. Harris "knows he is innocent and is confident he will be vindicated."

Vincent J. Dispenza, who had been Arochem's former treasurer and chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to fraud charges on March 31.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.