Man Without Qualities

Friday, July 26, 2002

Now About Those Enron/Andersen Prosecutions

A Gedanken Experiment for readers of the Man Without Qualities!

The reader is to imagine that she or he is a member of the Enron/Andersen prosecution task force at the United States Department of Justice. You have picked up your New York Times, where you read:

In a memo sent to Citigroup employees, Weill said Citigroup's transactions with Enron were legal, met accounting standards and reflected industry practices. ``And our people, relying on the advice of independent legal and accounting experts, believe they were doing the right thing,'' Weill said. [J.P. Morgan Chase Chief] Harrison delivered a similar message to the investment community Wednesday, saying that the acted ``properly and with integrity'' in all of its dealings with Enron ....

Now, how do you feel? Do you feel more confident that if you just run out and charge Enron and Andersen operatives with accounting, securities and bank fraud that things are going to fall your way in a criminal trial in which Messrs. Weill and Harrison and every other bank officer involved state from the witness stand that their products and dealings with Enron "were legal, met accounting standards and reflected industry practices?"

Do you think that in the face of that testimony that a jury will find BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the Enron/Andersen defendants "knew" exactly the opposite when they prepared Enron's financial statements?

See, you CAN do something with philosophy!

But would it make a good video game?

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