Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Final Rounds for Arthur Andersen

Arthur Andersen LLP appears to be nearing the end of its run as a litigant, perhaps its final acts as a legal entity.  Tomorrow, the Supreme Court concludes its oral argument schedule for the 2004 Term with Arthur Andersen v. United States (earlier post here).  The Andersen Reply Brief filed last week is available here, and the fight concerns the proper interpretation of "corruptly" under 18 U.S.C. Sec 1512.  Today, Andersen was the final defendant to settle in the WorldCom securities fraud class action litigation that has resulted in payments by investment banks and Worldcom's former directors of over $6 billion (earlier post here).  According to a Wall St. Journal article (here), Andersen agreed to pay $65 million, plus 20% of any funds paid out to its U.S. partners after the partnership is finally wound up.  No indication in the settlement documents how much that could be, and there is a chance it could be a multiple of zero. Even a reversal of the criminal conviction, which would probably be the end of the criminal case because the government is unlikely to retry the organization, will not bring Andersen back.  A sad end to a once-great name, at one time the best of the Big Eight accounting firms for those who remember back that far. (ph)

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