A federal appeals court has overturned most of the convictions against former Merrill Lynch bankers in connection with a sham deal with Enron Corp. in 1999.

The four men and one former Enron executive were convicted in November 2004 of conspiracy and fraud charges connected to the sale of three electricity-producing barges in Nigeria from Enron to Merrill. The jury in the case agreed that Enron had illegally used the deal to inflate its profits, but the appeals court found problems with the government's fraud argument.

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