Vinson pays $30m to settle Enron claims

Vinson & Elkins has settled to the tune of $30m with Enron’s bankruptcy estate in a deal which staves off the threat of civil litigation from the company.

The Texas-based firm has also written off about $4m in fees it was owed by Enron, while US media reported the settlement payment included $10.5m in returned legal fees Enron paid to Vinson in the three months prior to the bankruptcy

The settlement still requires approval from the US bankruptcy court, but it is understood the firm was keen to avoid a lengthy litigation lawsuit with Enron over its role in the company’s spectacular 2001 collapse.

Vinson remains a part of a separate shareholders’ suit seeking billions of dollars from the law firm and other financial institutions and advisers connected to Enron.

The settlement comes less than a fortnight after former Enron chief executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were found guilty of fraud. The pair are due to be sentenced on September 11.

Vinson partner Max Hendrick took the stand during the criminal trial, testifying about the probe the company conducted in 2001 into allegations made by former Enron executive Sherron Watkins.

The firm directed press enquiries to its Houston office, which was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.