Washington (May 2, 2002) - With a criminal trial looming next week, Andersen got more bad news Wednesday when a mediator overseeing talks to settle Enron-related civil lawsuits announced the negotiations dead.

"We regret that talks regarding a civil settlement with the lead class plaintiff, the Enron bankruptcy estate, and company creditors have ended," Andersen said in a statement late Wednesday. "We worked in good faith over the last several months to resolve these matters to the benefit of all parties. During these discussions, considerable progress was made, but unfortunately, the plaintiffs could not resolve several differences among themselves and with defendants other than Arthur Andersen."

Court-appointed mediator Eric Green acknowledged the breakdown of the talks in an e-mail to a federal judge in Houston, as well as to the bankruptcy judge overseeing Enron’s bankruptcy case in New York.

During the final days of the marathon talks, Andersen allegedly offered $300 million to settle all the civil claims against the firm. That offer was whittled down from its original $750 million as Andersen began hemorrhaging clients following its indictment on federal obstruction of justice charges. Andersen's criminal trial is set to begin next Monday.

--Tracey Miller-Segarra

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