Enron lead auditor to plead guilty

Lead partner David Duncan – who has remained silent before congressional hearings – will now co-operate with US prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the case and several reports.

The splintering firm fired Duncan in January, saying it suspected that he had ordered the destruction of documents to hamper an investigation into the collapse of energy giant Enron.

The shredding of documents is thought to be the main reason behind the criminal indictment issued by the US Justice Department against the accounting firm.

But an admission of guilt from Duncan is likely to do little to save Andersen from disintegration.

As well as the criminal indictment, Andersen also faces large-scale lawsuits brought by shareholders for its role in the demise of Enron.

Duncan is believed to be the first person in the case to have struck a deal with prosecutors.

Lawyers for Andersen met the Justice Department on Friday to negotiate a settlement, but no deal was reached. The charge against Andersen is set for trial on 6 May.

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