Petroleum company sues Arthur Andersen, charging negligence in oversight of Enron

Wednesday, January 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ An energy company is suing accounting firm Arthur Andersen, alleging fraud and negligence in the wake of the collapse of Enron Corp.

Attorneys for Samson Investment Co. filed the civil suit Tuesday in Tulsa County District Court against Chicago-based Arthur Andersen LLP.

The lawsuit alleged that Arthur Andersen ``recklessly disregarded evidence of questionable financial transactions between Enron and its insiders.''

According to the filing, Samson and other companies ``justifiably relied on the financial audits of Enron'' in entering into contracts with Enron relating to the purchase and sale of natural gas and other materials. It called the audits ``grossly misleading.''

The lawsuit requests class-action status on behalf of affected companies, and seeks an unspecified amount of actual and punitive damages.

Enron, formerly the world's largest energy trader, filed for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 2. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking into Andersen's role in Enron's complex accounting, including questionable partnerships that kept about $500 million in debt off the energy company's books.

Many Enron employees who lost their jobs and had their retirement savings wiped out as Enron's stock price plunged also have joined in lawsuits against Andersen and Enron executives.