- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

A House committee investigating the Enron Corp. collapse yesterday asked Arthur Andersen & Co. to turn over documents it says show the accounting firm knew about energy partnerships Enron used to conceal mounting financial losses.
In a letter to Andersen Chief Executive Officer Joseph F. Berardino, the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested records concerning audit work or advice Andersen provided on energy partnerships Enron executives created to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in debt off the company's books.
The partnerships, according to House investigators, were managed by Enron's former chief financial officer, Andrew Fastow, who was paid $30 million to oversee the operation in addition to his Enron salary.
In the letter, Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, Louisiana Republican, and the panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, asked Andersen to document the work it did for Enron regarding the partnerships since January 1997.
The partnerships included LJM Cayman and LJM2, along with more than 20 successor entities Whitecliff, Whitewing, Condor, Southampton, Raptor, Rawhide, Marlin Water Trust, Osprey, Yosemite Securities, Big River, Little River, Big Doe and Chewco.
The letter was also signed by Rep. James C. Greenwood, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations and that panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Peter Deutsch of Florida.
An Andersen spokesman yesterday had no immediate comment on the newest request for documents.
In a separate letter yesterday to Enron, the committee asked for records about a review the firm conducted last year on the legality of the partnerships. The letter said Enron attorney Jordan Mintz was told by an outside law firm to halt the practice, and Mr. Mintz then wrote memos to company executives to stop the practice.
In the Andersen probe, the committee also wants the names of every person Anderson interviewed during what its officials described last week in committee hearings as an extensive in-house investigation into the shredding of Enron-related documents.
Andersen executives fired the firm's former chief auditor, David B. Duncan, saying he ordered the records shredded shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation of Enron. The committee wants the name of every Andersen official who said Mr. Duncan ordered the shredding.
Mr. Duncan cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in declining to testify last week. His attorney, Robert J. Giuffra Jr., has said his client shredded the records on the orders of Andersen executives.
Enron filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2 after admitting it overstated earnings dating back to 1997 by almost $600 million. Nearly 5,000 employees lost their jobs and thousands of investors lost money as shares of Enron stock plummeted from $85 a share to less than a dollar.
The committee also asked Andersen for documents showing what the firm did when federal investigators were investigating Sunbeam and Waste Management Inc., two companies the firm represented. Sunbeam wound up in bankruptcy court, Waste Management was sold and Andersen paid millions in settlements to resolve shareholder lawsuits.
Enron is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department and is the focus of separate inquiries by the SEC and the Labor Department. At least nine congressional committees are investigating Enron's collapse and Andersen's accounting role.

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