JP Morgan and Citigroup are among Enron’s largest creditors. Legal experts said they are on a collision course with other creditors, which will probably try to recover money from the banks directly and try to block J. P. Morgan and Citigroup from recovering money that Enron owes them.
It would not be easy for other creditors to win against the two banks, though and it would take a separate, costly minitrial to determine the role the banks had in Enron’s collapse.
The settlement is also likely to push up the cost of settling private shareholder lawsuits filed in Houston against Enron’s various advisers — even though the two banks did not admit to any wrongdoing, lawyers said.
“On a practical basis, people are going to say, `They were scared enough to pay this much here, that means they should pay more over here,’ ” said Sandra E. Mayerson, head of the bankruptcy practice at Holland & Knight, which is representing some Enron creditors. “On a psychological basis I think it’s going to motivate the shareholders to hold out for more.”
J. P. Morgan Chase has set aside a $700 million reserve for Enron-related matters, including litigation and settlements, a spokeswoman said yesterday. Citigroup announced in December that it would take a $1.3 billion charge against earnings to cover costs related to Enron and other issues, like litigation resulting from accusations of conflicts of interest in its stock research.