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Enron Class Getting $2.4 Billion From CIBC

The Toronto bank's payment is the biggest so far to Enron's shareholders.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

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is the No. 1 bank when it comes to paying restitution to shareholders of

Enron

.

The Toronto-based bank agreed Tuesday to pay $2.4 billion to the former energy trading company's owners as part of a class-action settlement. CIBC is the third major bank to settle with Enron's former shareholders.

In June,

Citigroup

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agreed to a $2 billion settlement in the Enron litigation. A few weeks later,

J.P. Morgan Chase

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coughed up $2.2 billion.

In all, Enron shareholders have collected nearly $7 billion from the Wall Street banks, accountants and lawyers that allegedly contributed to the massive accounting fraud that led to Enron's spectacular collapse in 2001.

To date, none of the banks that have settled with Enron's shareholders have admitted any wrongdoing.

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Two years ago, CIBC paid an $80 million fine to the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to settle allegations that it and three of its executives helped fallen energy trader Enron cook its books.

One thing CIBC did for Enron was create an investment structure that enabled Enron to book $111 million in fictitious profits from the sale of its fledgling venture into broadband.

CIBC's settlement with Enron shareholders comes just two weeks after it paid a $125 million fine to securities regulators over its role in the mutual fund trading scandal.

Other banks with potential big exposure in the Enron class action include

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

,

Credit Suisse First Boston

(CSR)

and

Deutsche Bank

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. Legal experts have predicted that the total dollar value of settlements in the Enron shareholder litigation could approach $8 billion to $10 billion.

With the $7 billion already collected, the Enron class action now ranks as the biggest shareholder lawsuit, surpassing the $6 billion taken in WorldCom investors.