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Down the hall from the fraud and conspiracy trial of Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay and former Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, a federal judge gave initial approval Wednesday for three more banks to pay $6.6 billion to settle civil claims that they helped the company manipulate earnings.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon is expected to give final approval to the deals with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. later, said William Lerach, who represents the University of California, the lead plaintiff in the conglomerate of shareholder lawsuits in Enron’s hometown of Houston.

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