Man Without Qualities

Monday, April 15, 2002

Update: Yes, and you know what that means …

An article in today's New York Times says that Andersen will settle the obstruction of justice charges brought against it with the Justice Department in the next day or so, and has this to say about the settlement:

"The agreement could result in a deferral from prosecuting Andersen for as long as three years. Andersen's lawyers were uncomfortable with a deferral lasting that long, but the Justice Department was concerned that its investigation into possible wrongdoing at Enron isn't close yet to filing any criminal charges, people close to the negotiations said."

So it appears to come to this: After four months of intense investigation, the Justice Department feels it needs a margin of three more years to bring possible charges against Enron and its officers. If the frauds at Enron were as "obvious" and "egregious" as the company's critics have been saying on the basis of publicly available information, why does the Justice Department - which for months has had access to vastly more information than what has appeared in the media - think it needs another three years to decide what to do?

What's wrong? Didn't the New York Times indict and convict the whole Enron management team, together with all relevant accountants, banks and attorneys, months ago? Maybe the Justice Department should just ask the Times for the evidence they used!

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