PracticeAccounting FirmsAndersen faces moment of truth

Andersen faces moment of truth

Barring a small miracle, the moment of truth has come for Arthur Andersen LLP as it enters the dock next Monday to face charges of obstruction of justice in the US.

Despite last ditch attempts to force a delay, Andersen will now be required to appear in a Houston court on 6 May to answer charges relating to the destruction of thousands of Enron-related documents.

The firm had requested a delay in proceedings of six or seven weeks because it felt it would not receive a fair trial in the current hostile environment.

Despite the fact the US Department of Justice indictment names Andersen’s London office and former senior partners in the UK practice, the UK firm declined to comment on the trial.

‘Andersen Worldwide and Andersen UK do not believe the DoJ has a case,’ a spokesman for the firm in London said.

The firm in the US is also playing down reports that it was considering making a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing following the appointment of an insolvency expert, Bryan Marsal, as its chief restructuring manager.

At the same time, it is understood the firm has been involved in discussion with mid-tier firm Grant Thornton about a merger involving up to 400 Andersen partners.

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