Lehman Brothers used its London-based arm to funnel billions of dollars into
short-term loans designed to artificially bolster its books, according to a
report into the collapsed bank.
In a report for the United States Bankruptcy Court, examiner Anton Valukas,
claims Lehmans took advantage of repo-transactions, used to quickly raise funds
for a fixed period, to temporarily remove assets from its balance sheets.
This transactions were recorded as sales, which kept billions in liabilities
off its balance sheet.
According to Valukas, Lehman could not find a US law firm to provide an
opinion letter. They used an opinion letter from British Magic Circle law firm
Linklaters, which was made to Lehman’s London-based European arm, Lehman
Brothers International Europe (LBIE).
Linklaters is now advising on the administration of LBIE. For the first six
months of the insolvency the firm earned £33m.
Lehman’s US arms transferred their assets to LBIE in order for LBIE to
conduct the transactions on their behalf, according to the report.
The bank did not disclose the arrangement which enabled it to temporarily
remove approximately $50bn (£33bn) of assets from the balance sheet at the end
of the first and second quarters of 2008, the report claims.
In a statement, Linklaters said: “The US Examiner’s report into the failure
of Lehman Brothers includes references to English Law opinions which Linklaters
gave in relation to a number of Lehman transactions. The Examiner – who did not
contact the firm during his investigations – does not criticise those opinions
or say or suggest that they were wrong or improper. We have reviewed the
opinions and are not aware of any facts or circumstances which would justify any
Two new audit partners have been appointed at the firm BDO in its audit practice following continued growth and investment
"The whole idea of HMRC officials supplying confidential information about individuals to the media on a non-attributable basis is, or should be, a matter of serious concern," say Supreme Court judges
Changes to the tax system is urged to support the growth of entrepreneurs, found a report from the Grant Thornton UK, the Institute of Directors, and the Prelude Group
Investment in people, tech and businesses impacts on EY's profit per partner figure