Nigerian Barge Deal

DEFINITION of 'Nigerian Barge Deal'

A 1999 agreement between Enron and Merrill Lynch in which Enron transferred an interest in energy-producing barges located off the coast of Nigeria to Merrill Lynch. The sale was fake, because of a side deal Enron made to repurchase the barges later at a profit of $12 million.

BREAKING DOWN 'Nigerian Barge Deal'

One former Enron executive and four former Merrill Lynch executives were found guilty and received prison sentences for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsify books and records. One former Enron accountant was acquitted. It was the first of many Enron trials and a relatively small one, but it was thought to be an important indicator of how future trials might be handled.