Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Court Approves [Pounds Sterling]3.8bn Enron Payout by Banks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Court Approves [Pounds Sterling]3.8bn Enron Payout by Banks

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL CONDIE

A US judge has given the nod to a massive $6.7 billion ([pounds sterling]3.8 billion) settlement to be paid to shareholders of collapsed energy trader Enron by three banks.

"It is the largest recovery for fraud in history and, believe me, we are not done. There's more to come," the shareholders' lawyer William Lerach said after District Court Judge Melinda Harmon gave her preliminary approval for the deal.

Under the agreement, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will pay $2.4 billion, JPMorgan Chase $2.2 billion and Citigroup $2 billion.

Several other banks, including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, have vowed to fight similar claims through the courts but Lerach believes further settlements are inevitable.

"These banks participated in a scheme to defraud the Enron investors for their own financial gain. They got caught, the evidence is overwhelming," he said.

"Those that haven't settled are going to go to trial and be held liable, and that's why they're paying these huge amounts of money to settle."

Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Toronto Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada are all being sued by shareholders over the Enron affair.

Lerach spoke outside the federal court in Houston where Enron founder Ken Lay and ex-chief executive Jeffrey Skilling are being tried on fraud and conspiracy charges for their part in the energy trader's collapse after a morass of side deals designed to fool investors. …

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