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Will Disclosure In Lehman Bankruptcy Case Lead To Lawsuit Against Federal Reserve?

End the Fed Ron Paul Best Price: $1.12 Buy New $8.53 (as of 10:10 UTC - Details)

Reporters at the Wall Street Journal have uncovered something very intriguing while they were combing through the billing records of Jenner and Block, whose chairman, Anton Valukas is currently moonlighting as the examiner of the Lehman Bankruptcy Case. In J&B’s August fee statement, the firm discloses information that as part of its estate recoupment process, it has been contemplating suing none other than the Federal Reserve.

The Case Against the Fed Murray N. Rothbard Best Price: $2.05 Buy New $2.99 (as of 07:00 UTC - Details)

During its final days Lehman was a revolving door for Fed cash coming in (and promptly leaving) as the situation demanded. Whether borrowing at the Fed’s discount window against garbage collateral (no doubt consisting of worthless toxic commercial real estate – yet, we will never know: the Fed has just appealed the decision to disclose who/what/why got access to its processing of taxpayer bailout funding, which likely means that unless some Second Circuit/SCOTUS judge finds it deep in his/her soul that representing the American public is more important than siding with Wall Street as always, that information will never see the light of day), using the TAF program, or otherwise, Lehman ended up gobbling an ungodly amount of cash from the Fed which was subsequently improperly yanked by the Chairman, instead of being used to satisfy pari passu creditor claims. According to the WSJ:

The New York Fed lent Lehman $46.2 billion in cash and Treasury securities for $50.6 billion in collateral, according to Federal Reserve affidavits filed in bankruptcy court. As a result of Lehman’s sale to Barclays PLC following its bankruptcy, the New York Fed was later paid back in cash, with the Treasury securities returned. Lehman’s broker-dealer also borrowed tens of billions of dollars from the Fed in the period from Sept. 11 through Sept. 15 last year.

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October 5, 2009

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