Enron used multiple strategic partners to help cover up their accounting schemes. Houston law firm Vinson & Elkins’ top client was Enron. The law firm wrote opinion letters supporting the legality of the deals Enron was making even though they were illegal. Additionally, Arthur Andersen LLP was Enron’s auditor. More than 100 employees at Arthur Andersen were dedicated to Enron’s account. The firm was a major business partner of Enron and some Arthur Andersen executives accepted jobs with Enron. Some believe there was a conflict of interest. It is also believed Andersen was influenced to destroy auditing documents because of the large consulting fees Enron paid them. Also, Merrill Lynch, one of the largest investment banking firms, was also a contributor. They reportedly helped in a scheme of Enron’s to improperly record their earnings in 1999 through the sale of Nigerian Barges. Andrew Fastow, Enron’s Chief Financial Officer, is believed to be the mastermind behind the partnerships used to hide the $1 billion debt that led to Enron’s bankruptcy. He defrauded Enron and its shareholders to make Enron look more profitable than it really was ("Castalar Articles", 2005).
Castalar Articles (2005) says, “People have described the organizational culture of Enron as being arrogant. Enron’s compensation plans seemed less concerned with generating profits for shareholders than with enriching officer wealth. Enron’s corporate culture reportedly encouraged flouting or even breaking the rules. Enron's focus shifted from working hard and being successful, to taking short cuts to stay successful. Former CEO Jeffrey Skilling is seen as the mastermind behind Enron’s fraudulent accounting. Skilling has been quoted as saying Enron could make “a kazillion dollars” in a new accounting scheme. He is also reported dumping 39 percent of his Enron stock before the company disclosed its financial troubles.”
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