Andersen admitted the verdict would ‘effectively end the firm’s audit practice’. The firm was already in meltdown following its indictment on obstruction charges earlier this year.
Unless the jury verdict is set aside by the trial judge, a judgment of conviction could be entered as early as August 31, 2002, depending on the amount of time needed for the government and Andersen to brief and argue post-trial motions.
And if entered, the conviction would be grounds for automatic suspension of Andersen’s ability to practice before the Securities and Exchange Commission. Andersen said that between now and August 31, it would be working actively to help transition its remaining clients to other accounting firms.
‘By August 31, the firm expects to cease practising before the Commission and expects to begin immediately an orderly process for dealing with state regulators leading to surrender of the firm?s licenses,’ according to the firm’s statement.
‘In the meantime, Andersen expects to complete all of its outstanding engagements to provide attest services to its clients.’
In a separate statement issued today, the SEC said that it would permit Andersen to continue to practice before the SEC, including signing opinions for SEC registrants until August 31, 2002.