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(CNN) -- Auditing firm Arthur Andersen instructed its employees in a memo to destroy most of their material relating to Enron just days before the energy trading company went bankrupt, according to a report in the latest edition of Time magazine. (TIME.com full story)

As a result, thousands of e-mails and other electronic and paper files related to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history no longer exist, the magazine reported.

The report says supervisors at Arthur Andersen repeatedly reminded their employees of the memo prior to November 8, when the Securities and Exchange Commission issued subpoenas for documents as part of its investigation into Enron.

"If this memo is what it looks like, I'm afraid that the folks at Arthur Andersen could be on the other end of an indictment before this is over," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, said Sunday on CBS's "Face The Nation." Lieberman chairs a Senate committee investigating Enron. (Full story)

Arthur Andersen has acknowledged that its employees destroyed Enron-related documents, but has not revealed the existence of a memo directing them to do so.

Two Bush Cabinet officials Sunday defended their contacts with Enron's chairman and CEO, Kenneth Lay.



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Appearing on network news shows, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill both said they received phone calls from Lay last fall.

Evans, appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press," said he did not offer any assistance to Lay or Enron. O'Neill, a guest on "Fox News Sunday," defended the government's decision not to intervene as Enron's stock price collapsed.

Lieberman called O'Neill's comments "outrageous" and promised an aggressive investigation of Enron's collapse.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Committee wants Lay to explain his actions leading up to the company's collapse.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California is investigating Enron and has asked Lay to explain two e-mail messages sent last year to employees that predicted the company's stock would rise, even as the company slid towards bankruptcy. (Full story)

The U.S. Justice Department named veteran federal prosecutor Joshua Hochberg to lead its probe of Enron. The Labor Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several congressional committees are also investigating the sudden collapse of the Houston, Texas-based energy giant.

Enron markets electricity and natural gas, delivers energy and other physical commodities, and provides financial and risk management services to customers around the world.

Lawyers for Enron Corp. confirmed Friday that UBS AG has won the bidding war for the energy firm's wholesale operations. The value of the UBS offer was unknown. Salomon Smith Barney, a unit of the Citigroup banking organization, also was in contention for the unit, and BP PLC had expressed interest in buying some of the assets. (Full story)

Enron Corp.'s president called a top Treasury Department official several times late last year as the company was negotiating with bankers for a credit extension it needed to avoid bankruptcy, administration officials said Friday.

Undersecretary for Domestic Finance Peter Fisher interpreted the calls as a request for the administration to intervene and help, but he declined to do so, administration sources said.

CNN learned that former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin also called Fisher late last year to ask if Fisher could place a call urging bond rating agencies to see whether there was a way to avoid an immediate downgrading of Enron's ratings.

Types of Bankruptcy:
Chapter 7 -- 'Straight bankruptcy,'usually leads to liquidation.

Chapter 11 -- Most common form, frees a company from creditors' lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances.

Chapter 12 -- An extension of Chapter 11, designed to help debt-burdened family farms.

Chapter 13 -- "Wage earner" bankruptcy, for individuals who promise to repay as many creditors as possible from available income.

(Source: Associated Press)

Rubin is now a senior official at Citigroup, which had a financial exposure to Enron.

In addition, Enron chief Lay called Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on October 26, said a Fed spokesman, who added Greenspan did not do anything in response to the call because "it would not have been appropriate."

Justice Department officials told CNN that Attorney General John Ashcroft -- who has recused himself from the Justice Department's criminal investigation -- met last year with Lay on February 22 at the annual meeting of the Business Council in Washington. (Full story)

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers pledged to get to the bottom of what happened at Enron. Eight committees or subcommittees were preparing for separate hearings into Enron in coming weeks.

A Senate investigative subcommittee issued 51 subpoenas Friday to executives and the board of directors of Enron and Arthur Andersen, Enron's accounting firm. (Full story)
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2002-1-14 -04:00
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