Lehman Post Mortem Bares Shady Tricks

Execs may land in court for disguising bad investments
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2010 3:40 AM CST
Lehman Post Mortem Bares Shady Tricks
Former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Richard Fuld testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in 2008.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file)

Lehman Brothers tried to buy itself time by manipulating accounting gimmicks to disguise its bad investments, according to a court-ordered report on the firm's demise. The exhaustive, 2,200 page report found that execs, including former CEO Richard Fuld, could be held legally liable for the "materially misleading" attempt to disguise the state of its finances ahead of its collapse in 2008, the Guardian reports.

Lehman used an accounting trick called "repo 105," in which it temporarily sold assets and bought them back days later, to boost its balance sheet and shuffle bad assets off its books at the end of financial quarters, the report states. The review notes that a company vice-president's warning of accounting irregularities was ignored by auditors Ernst & Young. Fuld was “at least grossly negligent" ahead of the firm's bankruptcy, the biggest in American history, the report concludes.
(More Lehman Brothers stories.)

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