A New York journalist who played a key role in exposing corrupt energy company Enron will be a guest speaker at a journalism educators’ conference in Wellington in December.
Covering the story for Fortune magazine in 2001, Bethany McLean challenged Enron over its financial accounting practices and questioned whether it was the powerhouse most people assumed it to be.
That triggered one of the great financial scandals of recent times. Although Enron’s accounts gave the impression the company was making handsome profits, it was heading for collapse.
The scandal erupted several months later when Enron went bankrupt. Thousands of people lost their jobs and pension savings and Enron’s accountants, Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s top accounting firms, also collapsed.
Enron’s chairman and former chief executive were convicted of charges of fraud, insider trading, money laundering and conspiracy.