US DOJ drops charges against former Merrill banker in Enron case
Sept 16 |
Sept 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department dropped charges against former Merrill Lynch banker James Brown, who was accused of helping Enron Corp defraud its shareholders over a sham transaction involving Nigerian power barges, court documents show.
A jury had in November 2004 convicted bankers Daniel Bayly, James Brown and Robert Furst of conspiracy and fraud charges over Enron's 1999 transfer of the three barges to Merrill.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this decision in 2006, finding that the government tried the case improperly concerning the defendants' alleged theft of "honest services."
However, in a court filing on Wednesday, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice the criminal and conspiracy charges that were filed against James Brown.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the case to Reuters.
Enron transferred the barges to Merrill when it was under pressure to sell assets to meet a 1999 profit target.
The energy giant imploded in 2001 in one of the biggest corporate frauds in history.
The government called the transfer a sham because Enron agreed to take the barges back in six months and give Merrill a guaranteed return, making it a lease rather than a sale.
Merrill Lynch was taken over by Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) at the height of the global financial crisis.
The case is IN re: USA v. Bayly, et al, Case No. 4:03-cr-00363, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Kim Coghill ) ((email@example.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))
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