Accenture Tries To Avoid Enron/Andersen Mess


Enron shareholders attempt to name Accenture in class-action lawsuit


Accenture CEO Joseph Forehand Thursday morning called attempts by plaintiffs to include Accenture in lawsuits related to the Enron/Andersen case inappropriate and misguided.

During a conference call to discuss Accenture's earnings results, Forehand said Accenture entered into an agreement with plaintiffs in two pending lawsuits involving Enron and Andersen. As part of the agreement, Accenture was not named in the expanded class-action lawsuits filed by Enron shareholders, Forehand said. The lead plaintiffs, however, have reserved the right to file complaints or add Accenture to the litigation at a later date, he said.

"We firmly believe we have no liability whatsoever in the Enron/Andersen matters," Forehand said. "Once the plaintiffs fully understand the facts, they will see that any attempt to name Accenture as a party would be inappropriate and misdirected."

Forehand repeated a message Accenture released earlier this year, which said Accenture was "not involved in any way in Andersen's relationships with Enron that are alleged to have contributed to Enron's current difficulties."

Accenture is the former Andersen Consulting, which split from Arthur Andersen LLP in August 2000.

Earlier this week, Enron shareholders expanded a class-action lawsuit in an amended federal complaint, to include nine Wall Street banks, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse First Boston, as well as two law firms, alleging the firms helped the now-bankrupt Enron defraud shareholders.

Initially, only Enron, several its executives and auditor Arthur Andersen were named as defendants. The amended complaints filed this week, however, had also attempted to name Accenture, prior to the agreement Forehand disclosed.

Separately, Reuters reported Thursday morning that Andersen is close to a settlement with the government for both criminal and civil charges related to its audit of Enron.