Andersen Worldwide Faces $350 Million RICO Action
The suit alleges that Andersen auditors worked with Banco Bilboa Viscaya Argentaria S/A in the bank's attempt to acquire Excel and in so doing conspired to undervalue the Brazilian bank so that it could be acquired at a bargain price. After the acquisition, Andersen employees took management positions in the Brazilian bank and revalued the bank at a substantially higher amount without providing any additional compensation to shareholders.
The lawsuit is being characterized as a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) action and is thought to be the first ever such action filed against Andersen Worldwide.
The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $350 million as well as triple damages for the fraudulent action of taking control of the bank away from the shareholders.