April 05, 2007
Retrying the Nigerian Barge Cases
Posted by Christine Hurt

Just to catch folks up:  the Enron Task Force has won eight convictions at trial.  One of those, Ken Lay's, was vacated at his death.  Four others were overturned in whole or in part by the Fifth Circuit as part of the Merrill Lynch/Nigerian Barge case, and one conviction in the Broadband cases was vacated by the trial judge after that Nigerian Barge reversal.  And of course, Jeff Skilling's conviction is on appeal.

Prosecutors have vowed to retry Kevin Howard of the Broadband case, and the Houston Chronicle reports today that prosecutors have presented an amended indictment to retry the Merrill Lynch bankers under theories other than the "theft of honest services" theory.  Remember that these defendants have already served a year of their reversed two- and three-year sentences.  Prosecutors say that they are working on a settlement with the defendants.  It must be nice to be a prosecutor -- if at first you don't succeed, threaten, threaten again.

The WSJ Law Blog picks up on this story and asks this insightful question that might be familiar to Conglomerate readers: 

The Fifth Circuit ruled last month that a securities-fraud class-action against Merrill Lynch and others over their role as advisers to Enron cannot proceed. (The opinion specifically cited the Nigerian Barge case as an example of Merrill’s allegedly fraudulent conduct.) Let’s try to get this straight. So the conduct of Merrill’s bankers in their Enron dealings is sufficient to impose criminal liability, but insufficient to support civil liability? Are there other instances where the law permits this result?

Wow. That is ironic. I wish someone would write a paper on that.

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Comments (3)

1. Posted by alkali on April 5, 2007 @ 12:57 | Permalink

Instead of shooting Peter Lattman a PDF of your paper along with a friendly note explaining why it's pertinent to his blog item, I recommend a sardonic post on your own blog implicitly blaming him for not trolling the deeper recesses of SSRN. That plan can't miss!


2. Posted by Belstaff Jackets Sale on November 12, 2011 @ 16:44 | Permalink

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


3. Posted by Coach Factory on April 24, 2012 @ 1:33 | Permalink

I didn't know Curley Howard played for BYU!

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