Wednesday PM January 9th, 2008
by: Ed Mayberry, January 9, 2008 5:01:00 am
Citigroup has filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan to kill Enron's bid to punish the bank for Enron's 2001 collapse, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citigroup is asking the judge to throw out the $21 billion lawsuit, arguing that Enron, and not Citigroup, is at fault. Citigroup says Enron was run by felons and self-confessed fraudsters and was unsupervised by its board. The lawsuit is a remnant of the so-called "Mega Claims" litigation in which Enron Creditors Recovery sued 11 banks and financial institutions for helping disguise the extent of Enron's financial troubles. Nearly $1.76 billion in settlements has come from the other ten banks. The Citigroup suit goes to trial in April, but a hearing on the filing is set for March 27th.
The Snohomish County, Washington, PUD is expected to write a check for $18 million to Enron as part of a settlement approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 2001, the PUD cancelled a high-priced nine-year electricity contract it signed with Enron after just eight months of service.
A Houston-based firm that provides computer forensics has been granted accreditation by the American Society of Criminal Detectives, making it the first and only private lab in the nation to receive such accreditation. There are government-run labs, but only two private computer forensics labs in Texas, and HSSK is used by law firms and businesses, according to shareholder Marc Schwartz.
"What you have to do is be able to, simple case, take a, remove a hard drive then using special hardware and software to protect the integrity of that drive, so that there's no changing done to what's on it. The accreditation is not only the process but also in the, in the protection of the chain of custody of the evidence. Extract the information off the drive, we image it and then analyze that information using, again, specialized software because you not only analyze the stuff that is there that you and I could see, for example, if you opened up your directory, but for example the stuff that was deleted that you can no longer see, but it is still on that hard drive. We can extract that."
Schwartz says the computer forensics business is booming.
"So much business is now done electronically. It never sees paper. Take an international company that has sued just trying to comply with a production request and go through their computers and extract electronic information to the response to two lawsuits is a major undertaking. There's a, any family law matter now, that we see, involves us going into, at least partly going into someone's computer and see what they did, and what's on it." Ed: "It is deleted if it's written over, right? I mean, over time stuff does get written over." "Over time, but with the growth of hard drives, the size of hard drives, you'd be surprised how much information you deleted even four years ago is still on that hard drive. It's just waiting for random chance that that sector will actually be written over."
HSSK computer forensics also helps in investigations of intellectual property and trade secrets.
The chief executive of Ford Motor Company says its stock slide is a reflection of U.S. economic uncertainty. He says it won't change the company's plans to roll out new models and shrink itself to match consumer demand. Alan Mulally told reporters that Ford has financing in place to weather an economic downturn and its restructuring plan is flexible enough to adjust production to a declining market. Despite deteriorating U.S. economic conditions, Mulally said the company still plans to return to profitability in 2009, and when it does, the stock market will reward it.
A Florida Senator says he's getting few answers on whether sexual assaults of employees of contractors in Iraq are widespread. Senator Bill Nelson began seeking the information after a constituent told him she was sexually assaulted in June 2005 while working for KBR/Halliburton in Iraq. Her allegations followed allegations by Jamie Leigh Jones --a Texas woman who says she was raped and held against her will while working for KBR in July 2005. Nelson asked the Defense Department in December to investigate the women's allegations. He also asked how many rape examinations had been performed by U.S. military doctors in Iraq. In a separate letter, he asked the State Department how many allegations of sexual assault or abuse had been reported in Iraq and how many had been investigated. The DOD Inspector General's Office told Nelson its requested information about the number of rape examinations and would provide answers as soon as possible. The State Department did not address the questions on numbers of sexual assaults and abuse reported and investigated.