Citigroup Inc. said on Friday it will pay $2 billion to Enron Corp. investors who accused it of helping the energy trader in a massive accounting fraud, a move that cleans up one of the bank’s top legal problems and could pressure others to settle the case.
The class-action settlement with stock and bond holders is the biggest in the long-running Enron debacle and one of the largest in corporate history, though less than the $2.58 billion Citigroup agreed to pay WorldCom Inc. investors in 2004.
Analysts said the agreement with Citigroup, the world’s largest financial services company, could prompt settlements from other banks facing claims for their roles in Enron’s December 2001 collapse.
“I think this will force the hand of other big banks like JPMorgan Chase. Usually once one settles, the others follow,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management in New York.