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Briefs (right)

CIBC to Pay $2.4B in Enron Case

By Jeff Bailey

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce agreed Tuesday to pay $2.4 billion to settle claims that it helped hide accounting losses at the Enron Corp., raising to $7.1 billion the sum that banks and other defendants have thus far agreed to pay to compensate investors.

The agreement follows by weeks settlements by Citigroup of $2 billion and J.P. Morgan Chase of $2.2 billion, as part of a sprawling case in federal court in Houston that accuses financial institutions and others of helping Enron pull off accounting deceptions that preceded its bankruptcy filing in 2001.

The amount makes it the largest class-action securities settlement on record and puts pressure on the remaining defendants in the lawsuit to settle.

Canadian Imperial, based in Toronto and known as CIBC, is a far smaller bank than Citigroup or Chase, and had previously set aside about $246 million for its Enron risk, a spokesman said. Tuesday the bank said it would record a pretax charge of about $2.3 billion in its third quarter ended July 31 to cover the settlement “and its remaining Enron-related legal matters.”

For fiscal 2004, which ended Oct. 31, CIBC had net income of about $1.8 billion.

Jet Skids, Burns in Toronto;
All 309 Aboard Safe

By Clifford Krauss


An Air France passenger jet from Paris with 309 people on board skidded off a runway and within minutes burst into flames on Tuesday while landing in stormy weather at Pearson International Airport here. But all the passengers and crew members were able to scurry down escape chutes within five minutes after the crash, just before the fire spread through much of the aircraft. No one was seriously hurt.

“We were in shock; we thought the plane would blow up,” one of the passengers, Olivier Dubois, told Canadian Television. “We were all running really fast out of there. We just tried to escape, sliding and running into the countryside.”

Airport officials estimated that of the 297 passengers and 12 crew members on board, 24 people had minor injuries, mostly bruises sustained during the plane’s slide and the wild dash through the jet and down escape chutes.