Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CS to Settle Enron Claims for U$90M

Enron has now settled with at least six banks accused of helping its managers hide debts and inflate results.

Reuters, 9 May 2006

Credit Suisse will pay $90 million to Enron to settle claims that it helped the energy trader commit fraud, Enron said Tuesday.

Houston-based Enron has now settled with at least six banks in its "MegaClaims" litigation. It accused the banks of helping prior management hide debt and inflate results, contributing to the company's December 2001 bankruptcy.

Enron said Credit Suisse's payout is lower than payouts by some other banks because it was involved in fewer transactions with the company.

Credit Suisse confirmed the settlement, and did not admit wrongdoing. It said it has set aside enough money for the payment.

Enron said it will allow $92 million of Credit Suisse's claims, and that another $237 million of claims will be subordinated, and receive no distribution from Enron's estate.

John Ray, Enron's chairman, said he remains eager to settle with the remaining banks in the MegaClaims case.

These banks include Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fleet National Bank and Merrill Lynch, Enron said.

Enron emerged from Chapter 11 protection in November 2004, and exists to liquidate assets and pay debts. Its bankruptcy is the second largest in U.S. history, after Worldcom.

Closing arguments are set for May 15 in the trial of former Enron chief executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who are accused of conspiracy and fraud in Enron's collapse.

In previous MegaClaims settlements, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $350 million, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce $250 million, Toronto-Dominion Bank $70 million plus $60 million for claims it transferred to third parties, Royal Bank of Scotland Group $41.8 million and Royal Bank of Canada $25 million.

The MegaClaims case is separate from investor lawsuits over Enron's collapse. The University of California, the lead plaintiff in that case, has recovered some $7 billion from banks on behalf of Enron investors.

Credit Suisse's settlement requires approval by the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

The law firms Susman Godfrey; Togut, Segal & Segal; and Venable represent Enron in the MegaClaims litigation.