In re Enron Corporation Securities, Derivative & ERISA Litigation
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
235 F.Supp. 549 (2002)
Purchasers of Enron Corporation’s public securities (plaintiffs) brought a class action against Citigroup, Vinson & Elkins, Arthur Anderson, and other entities (defendants), alleging that they made false statements or failed to disclose adverse facts while selling the Enron securities, or participated in a scheme that defrauded or deceived the securities purchasers. The complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in an enormous Ponzi scheme involving the creation of Enron-controlled entities and the sale of unwanted Enron assets to these entities in non-arms-length transactions to obscure debt and create sham profits on Enron’s books, in an effort to induce new investments and maintain the scheme. The complaint alleges that Enron’s accountants, outside law firms, and banks, who worked closely with Enron, greatly benefitted from this scheme, causing them to support Enron’s misstatements about its financial condition, and thereby deceiving investors and the public. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Citigroup participated in a repeated pattern of disguised loans to Enron totaling $2.4 billion at double the normal interest rates, which provided Citigroup with $70 million a year for its role in the Ponzi scheme; that the law firm Vinson & Elkins wrote and approved Enron’s SEC filings and public statements, and helped create the Enron-controlled entities, in exchange for lucrative fees; and that the accounting and auditing firm Arthur Anderson engaged in a pattern of fraudulent audits of Enron, and gave Enron a clean audit opinion despite having intimate knowledge of the details of Enron’s alleged fraudulent activity. The defendants have moved to dismiss the claims against them.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harmon, J.)