Enron Scandal

9449 Words Oct 23rd, 2013 38 Pages
The Enron scandal, revealed in October 2001, eventually led to the bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation, an American energy company based in Houston, Texas, and the de facto dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which was one of the five largest audit and accountancy partnerships in the world. In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history at that time, Enron was attributed as the biggest audit failure.[1]
Enron was formed in 1985 by Kenneth Lay after merging Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth. Several years later, when Jeffrey Skilling was hired, he developed a staff of executives that, by the use of accounting loopholes, special purpose entities, and poor financial reporting, were able to hide billions of
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By December 31, 2000, Enron’s stock was priced at $83.13 and its market capitalization exceeded $60 billion, 70 times earnings and six times book value, an indication of the stock market’s high expectations about its future prospects. In addition, Enron was rated the most innovative large company in America in Fortune 's Most Admired Companies survey.[11]
Causes of downfall[edit]

Enron 's complex financial statements were confusing to shareholders and analysts.[12][13] In addition, its complex business model and unethical practices required that the company use accounting limitations to misrepresent earnings and modify the balance sheet to indicate favorable performance.[14]
The combination of these issues later resulted in the bankruptcy of the company, and the majority of them were perpetuated by the indirect knowledge or direct actions of Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Andrew Fastow, and other executives. Lay served as the chairman of the company in its last few years, and approved of the actions of Skilling and Fastow although he did not always inquire about the details. Skilling constantly focused on meeting Wall Street expectations, advocated the use of

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