Andersen loses criminal trial

by Volker Weber

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After a six-week trial and 10 days of deliberations, jurors convicted Andersen for obstructing justice when it destroyed Enron Corp. documents while on notice of a federal investigation. Andersen had claimed that the documents were destroyed as part of its housekeeping duties and not as a ruse to keep Enron documents away from the regulators.

The verdict will likely be a fatal blow for the 89-year-old accounting firm, which is now operating as a shell of its once-powerful self. The firm has laid off 7,000 employees, sold many of its practices in the United States and has lost more than 650 of its 2,300 public audit clients this year. Thousands more employees in the United States and around the world are likely to lose their jobs as the firm shrinks.

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