FBI visits Enron; but has it retained Andersen!

New Delhi, January 23: | Updated: Jan 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
Enron invited the FBI to its headquarters in Houston after an ex-executive claimed she saw employees shredding documents as recently as last week, Enron said. FBI agents arrived at Enron’s Houston headquarters Tuesday, while company guards blocked employee access to the floors where the accounting and finance offices are located. FBI denied to comment, but a hyperlink on this information was found posted on the FBI website this evening.

‘‘The company has done everything you’d expect under these circumstances,’’ Enron attorney Kenneth Marks told U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. Maureen Castaneda, who was laid off last week as Enron’s director of foreign exchange and sovereign risk, said in a court brief released Monday that finance and accounting employees were involved in a ‘‘gather-review-shred’’ process beginning Oct. 31, when the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a formal investigation into Enron’s finances. She said the shredding continued through at least Jan. 14 and involved thousands of documents. Meanwhile, the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday posted an important assertion on its website, claiming that it’s journalists have documents proving that the FBI has had Andersen as its consultants in a revamp effort! The IHT credited this piece ofinformation to Senator Leahy of Vermont, addressed to the US justice department. The paper’s television site carried transcripts of a Q&A in this regard, where anchor John Defterios complains that here he has papers to this effect in his hands, and here’s this consultant (Andersen) enjoying access to internal FBI records. “This is extraordinary, isn’t it” the IHT anchor asks Bill Alison, managing editor at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.

To this Mr Alison replies,”Well these accounting firms have tremendous reach, and Anderson is really not all that an exception....they do a lot of governmental consulting as well as government lobbying. One of the things that they’ve been able to do is to basically write their own rules as to how they’re regulated, through theirlobbying efforts and their campaign contributions. And it is staggering and somewhat chilling tothink that these firms have so much influence and so little accountability”.